Rutgers Team Accepts Imus's Apology

By Bill Brubaker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 13, 2007; 6:10 PM

Rutgers University's women's basketball players have accepted an apology from fired radio talk show host Don Imus, who called them "nappy-headed hos" last week, the team's coach announced today.

At a meeting with the team last night, hours after his nationally syndicated show was dropped by CBS Radio, Imus was "expressive" and "remorseful," coach C. Vivian Stringer told reporters at a brief news conference.

"He expressed his apology. We accepted his apology," Stringer said of the meeting, which was also attended by players' parents, university administrators and a minister.

Stringer said she still considers Imus's racially and sexually insensitive comment -- made after underdog Rutgers lost to Tennessee in the NCAA women's basketball title game -- unacceptable but symptomatic of what others in American society feel.

"This is not just Mr. Imus," said Stringer, who is black.

Imus's on-the-air slur "spoke to women . . . spoke to sexism . . . spoke to racism in our society," Stringer said. " . . . Don't we realize that it is time as Americans to all hold ourselves to a higher standard? I sense that the music industry, the film industry . . . educators, everyone is sharing in this responsibility."

Eight of the 10 members of Stringer's team are black.

This afternoon, a minister who mediated the meeting between Imus and the team announced plans to hold a "town hall meeting" at Rutgers to discuss "the culture that produces the language that Imus used."

"All of us here have been frustrated for years that the culture has produced language that has denigrated women, and there are certain segments of the culture that seem to do it more than others," Rev. DeForest B. Soares Jr. said.

The town hall meeting will involve "elected officials . . . media moguls, entertainers and educators and young people," said Soares, a former New Jersey secretary of state who is black.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today called Imus's comment "disgusting."

"They're 18- and 19-year-old women," Rice told talk show host Michael Medved, according to the Associated Press. "And what were they doing except showing that they're really fine athletes, playing under extraordinary pressure in which for them was a dream season? And it gets ruined by this disgusting -- and I'll use the word 'disgusting' -- comment which doesn't belong in any polite company and certainly doesn't belong on any radio station that I would listen to."

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