Don Imus has been fired from his radio show in the aftermath of his offensive comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team.
I haven’t written about this controversy because I have no opinion on whether Imus should be canned. I don’t listen to Imus and never did. His comments about the basketball players seemed offensive enough to justify his discharge but not so offensive as to require it. To have a view as to whether he should be fired, I would need to know what his past conduct has been and what redeeming value, if any, his show had. The employer would also be entitled to engage in the economic calculus. There’s no free speech issue because the government wasn’t cracking down, and no one has a constitutional right to be fill paid by an employer for speech.
I was struck, however, by the reaction of the Rutgers basketball team. Rather than comment myself, I’ll post comments from two tough street smart women who succeeded in the workplace when it was a far less hospitable place than it is today. First, from my conservative cousin’s wife:
Never leave college ladies, the world is a hard place and if you are going to cry over what a shock jock says you are not going to be able to take real cruel things like cancer, a parent’s death or real bigots like Pat Buchanan and Al Sharpton who are still on the air at MSNBC.
Second from an extraordinarily successful female who happens to belong to a minority group:
Here are these. . .tough women on top of the world and they are so fragile that a remark knocks them down. Hey, why wouldn’t they have said F– You? Who the heck is this fool Imus? We are queens of national basketball and there is no stopping us now. We can be and do anything we choose to be or do. . .We don’t need Al Sharpton to protect us. . .But no, they look devastated and say they are damaged irreperably. What a golden opportunity to serve as role models for younger women coming along who need to see others (basketball players, mind you) not get easily knocked off balance.
UPDATE: Kathryn Lopez has the same view of the Rutgers players, who apparently will be going on Oprah’s show. She also takes Imus to task, and rightly so, for appearing on Al Sharpton’s show.
FURTHER UPDATE: Dick Meyer offers his thoughts on what the the Imus affair and the wrongful persecution of the Duke lacrosse players says about us and our culture. I presented not entirely different thoughts here, in connection with Anna Nicole Smith.
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