A Black journalists’ organization called a boycott on Friday over comments made by radio host Don Imus about the athletes of Rutgers University’s women’s basketball team. On the April 4 edition of the radio show Imus in the Morning, which is simulcast on MSNBC, he called the team “nappy-headed hos” after the show’s executive producer, Bernard McGuirk, referred to them as “hardcore hos."
The National Association of Black Journalists called for an apology from Imus, encouraging all journalists to boycott his show until an apology is issued.
“Has he lost his mind?” said NABJ President Bryan Monroe. “Those comments were beyond offensive. Imus needs to be fired. Today.”
Don Imus apologized for the remarks on Friday’s broadcast of the show, in which he acknowledged, “It was completely inappropriate, and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry.” (Listen to his apology on MSNBC.com)
In a statement from MSNBC, the station said, “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.”
A spokesperson for the Rutgers’ women’s basketball team declined to comment on the broadcast. “At this point we’re trying to celebrate the success of these ten young women on the court,” Stacey Brann, associate director of athletic communications, told ESSENCE, “which we did last night at the Louis Brown Athletic Center with a pep rally that was attended by almost 2,000 people.”
During the broadcast, which focused on the NCAA women’s basketball championship game between Rutgers and Tennessee, McGuirk also compared the two teams to “the Jigaboos vs. the Wannabes” presumably from Spike Lee’s movie School Daze. Sports announcer Sid Rosenberg said that the Rutgers players “look exactly like the Toronto Raptors.”
From the controversial April 4 broadcast:
IMUS: That’s some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and—
McGUIRK: Some hard-core hos.
IMUS: That’s some nappy-headed hos there. I’m gonna tell you that now, man, that’s some—woo. And the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know, so, like—kinda like—I don’t know.
McGUIRK: A Spike Lee thing.
McGUIRK: The Jigaboos vs. the Wannabes—that movie that he had.
“As NABJ strives to dispel stereotypes and promote accurate portrayals of minorities in the media,” said Barbara Ciara, NABJ vice-president, “we find this characterization of these young black women offensive and hateful.”