NABJ: Imus’ Apology Is Too Little Too Late

By Off The BASN Sports Wire
Updated: April 7, 2007

Vivian Stringer and Don Imus WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Association of Black Journalists remains outraged after the racially inflammatory insults made by radio personality Don Imus, even though the shock jock offered a two-line apology days after he called members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy-headed ho’s.”

NABJ is calling for the immediate removal of Imus and his WFAN producer, Bernard McGuirk – who referred to the players as ‘jigaboos and wannabees’ ” by Monday morning.

The association also questions if sponsors of his show – which include the New York Stock Exchange, The New York Times, Simon & Schuster, Random House and Newsday – will want to continue to be associated with the program.

“What he said has deeply hurt too many people – black and white, male and female,” said Bryan Monroe, NABJ president. “His so-called apology comes two days after the fact, and it is too little, too late.”

Imus has had a history of racial insults on his program, having called award-winning journalist Gwen Ifill of PBS a ‘cleaning lady’ and referring to columnist William Rhoden of the New York Times as “a quota hire.”

“As journalists, we firmly believe in the First Amendment and free speech,” Monroe added. “But free speech comes with responsibility, and sometimes with consequences. His removal must be that consequence.”

“These were nothing but hard working student athletes – young women, just trying to do their best. After 40 years on the air, it is clear that he has lost touch with all that is decent and honorable in America,” said Monroe. “It is time for him to go.”

NABJ appreciates the swift action from NBC and its cable channel MSNBC in condemning his remarks, and now hopes the network will continue to do the right thing and separate itself permanently from the incendiary host.

On his show at 6 a.m. Friday morning, Imus read the following prepared statement: “Want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill-conceived remark we made the other morning regarding the Rutgers women’s basketball team.

It was completely inappropriate, and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry.”

MSNBC also issued the following statement: “While simulcast by MSNBC, “Imus in the Morning” is not a production of the cable network and is produced by WFAN Radio. As Imus makes clear every day, his views are not those of MSNBC. We regret that his remarks were aired on MSNBC and apologize for these offensive comments.”