I read that Don Imus returned to his Manhattan home last night after meeting with the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team following his irresponsible and degrading remarks that are currently dominating national headlines. Though I don't really have much to say about him, in particular, as he is not someone to whom I would pay any attention anyway, I have found the public debate interesting albeit exhausting.
In response to Diane Sawyer on ABC's Good Morning America regarding Imus' termination from CBS, Black Radio Host Larry Elder defended Imus this morning:
"No, Diane, the punishment does not fit the crime. And let's not trivialize, of course, what Don Imus said. It was offensive. He crossed the line. It was sexist. It was racist. But he apologized - apologized again. And then did the obligatory beat-down tour a la Michael Richards by appearing on The Al Sharpton Show, and as far as I'm concerned, that should have been enough.
"In the grand department store of life, Don Imus operates in a toy section. And I think that those remarks should have been taken with some perspective, and they weren't ... well, Diane I understand all of that [regarding Diane Sawyer's contention that there may be CBS employees who want to come to work in a culture that respects them], but think about all of the people who are calling for his head. Al Shapton referred to the Central Park Jogger as a whore, not a ho, but a whore, pardon me, and said that her boyfriend did it. Al Sharpton has never apologized for falsely accusing a White man of sexually assaulting Tawana Brawley. Jesse Jackson has called for his head ...
[Diane Sawyer: "But Larry, a lot of people say that maybe Al Sharpton doesn't speak for the entire community. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, a slap on the wrist would have made a different kind of statement that was also unacceptable."]
"Well, I think it is unacceptable, Diane, when people who are so-called leaders like Jesse Jackson, who say 'Hymie in Hymietown' and then denied, by the way, having said it and took several days to apologize - longer than did Don Imus. You have Spike Lee, who is also calling for his head. Spike Lee, Diane, once said that he disliked interracial couples and when he sees them, he gives them visual daggers. This guy also has made other hideous statements that are quite racist, and I just don't understand how it is that these so-called Black leaders have the moral authority to demand that a private employer fire Don Imus ... He apologized; he apologized profusely. He has in the past spoken very sincerely about what happened to James Byrd, who was dragged in Jasper, Texas. He's talked about what happened in Hurricane Katrina. I think you have to look at the body of the man's work and not dismiss him because of a stupid, racist remark that he made for which he has several times apologized ...
"... I do want to take issue with the term 'free speech.' This has nothing to do with free speech. Free speech has to do with government suppressing political speech. This is about a private employer, CBS, determining for all sorts of reasons that Don Imus ought to go. That's just the way things go. That's just free enterprise. But it has nothing to do with free speech."
-Larry Elder, Libertarian Radio Host of "The Larry Elder Show"
See video clip of this interview on ABC News
"From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and repulsed by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represent Rutgers University in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship ... In our meetings with concerned groups, there has been much discussion of the effect language like this on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society."
- Leslie Moonves, CBS President & CEO
I've also caught more food for thought from Jemele Hill, Columnist, ESPN.com, and Martha Burk, National Council of Women's Organizations, who both offered good perspectives to consider.
I don't know if Don Imus' career will ever recover, but he has certainly been a shock jock who pushed the envelope with statements that have to make you think, even if they make you angry.
"Kanye West said during a concert on NBC that George Bush doesn't care about Black people, which I don't believe. What I do believe is that neither he nor anyone else cares enough about them."
- Don Imus
Not a quote of the day, week or month. Just of whenever. Until the next quote that moves me.