News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Imus wrong, but so are Sharpton, Jackson

Don Imus said something really dumb last week.

Mr. Imus, whose syndicated radio show is broadcast weekdays on more than 70 radio stations and the MSNBC cable-television channel, called members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos" during Wednesday's show, the day after the University of Tennessee Lady Vols beat Rutgers for the national championship.

Mr. Imus was wrong and has said so. He has apologized on the air and on various other news outlets. He said he wants to meet with the Rutgers players, their parents and coaches to apologize in person.

But Mr. Imus' mea culpa has not quieted the uproar from the likes of the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who have organized protests at NBC affiliates across the country and have called for Mr. Imus to be fired.

"We cannot keep going through offending us and then apologizing and then acting like it never happened. Somewhere we've got to stop this," the Rev. Sharpton said.

Since when was the Rev. Sharpton a member of the Rutgers University women's basketball team? What else could his use of the pronoun "us" imply?

Frankly, Mr. Sharpton and Mr. Jackson's habit of inserting themselves into situations that have nothing to do with them is getting tiresome. The men have become the self-appointed spokesmen and defenders of all aggrieved blacks.

If Mr. Imus had insulted a team of mostly white players, or Hispanic players, or Jewish players, it would have been just as wrong. But the Revs. Sharpton and Jackson do not get involved in those situations.

By making such distinctions, Mr. Sharpton and Mr. Jackson perpetuate the problem, while posing as part of the solution.

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