Don Imus Screws Up

Don Imus is once again embroiled in racial controversy. This time, he’s forced to play defense because, once again, he’s opining on black athletes:

“On his nationally syndicated WABC morning talk show on Citadel Broadcasting Corporation, Imus in response to a statement from another WABC programmer about Dallas Cowboys defensive back Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones legal difficulties asked ‘What color is he?’ When the programmer responded he’s African-American, Imus responded, ‘Well, there you go. Now we know.'”

From the transcript, it’s easy to infer that Imus was suggesting that Jones routinely breaks the law because he’s black. However, Imus insists his point was that Jones is “being picked on because he’s black.”

Imus’ defense sounds plausible, and given the chastening consequences of his Rutgers remarks, I doubt he’d say something as objectively stupid and offensive as what his comments about Jones sound like. So I’m inclined to believe Imus.

With that said, Imus, when broaching any subject of this nature, must (particularly given his personal history) ensure his words are impossible to misinterpret. Imus is a smart man, and he’s been a professional communicator for decades. So he should know better. When it comes to matters of race, he simply can’t allow himself to be this tin-eared. And I say this as someone who, at least at this point, accepts his explanation.

Of course, I’m generally for anything that hastens the demise of the “shock jock.”

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