As a student at Rutgers University, people keep asking me how I feel about Don Imus, who was, until this afternoon, a notorious radio "shock jock"--think Howard Stern, but with sports instead of strippers.
Frankly? I don't give a shit.
Is the Rutgers University women's basketball team a bunch of "nappy headed hos?" Of course not. Everyone and their mother knows this. Is Don Imus a bigot and an asshole? Perhaps. Don Imus is also an old man who was probably around before schools were integrated and whose balls probably sag much lower than anything the RU women's basketball team could ever conceivably dribble. While I'm not saying this is a reason to cut him any slack, I do find it useful to get into his mindset: He's a crazy old dude.
The fact is, bringing attention to Don Imus's comments about the team caused much more harm than good. Most of the student body had no idea who Don Imus was until the media blew this entirely out of proportion and plastered it on front pages of newspapers nationwide, and most of the student body--myself included--still does not care. And now that an actual good governor acting as a mediator between the RU women's team and Imus is in critical condition resulting from an accident happening on his way to the meeting between the parties? I think that was quite a bit of a sign that this has been taken much, much too far.
In addition to that potential tragedy, we also have on our hands the potential damage to our First Amendment rights. CBS and MSNBC have cowered to threats not of moral or ethical integrity, but of advertising pulls. By firing Don Imus, we are saying that free expression--even if it is expression of ideas we may not agree with--is not a Constitutional right, but a privilege that must be paid for by corporate sponsorship, and that is a much more offensive and dangerous view than any that Imus has expressed throughout his decades on sports radio.
*By Jess, who likes football better anyway