Vivian Stringer, Rutgers women’s Hall of Fame basketball coach, is letting bygones be bygones by offering up prayers to the family of radio shock jock, Don Imus.
“The Rutgers family has found peace through the years, and we are proud of our response to the hateful words that he had years ago,” Stringer told the media Tuesday following Rutgers’ loss to Indiana, reading from prepared remarks. “As African-American women, we don’t feel that we should be treated ― or anyone else should be treated ― like that.”
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Imus, who died from lung cancer last week, created a firestorm in 2007 when he called the Black players on the Scarlet Knights team “nappy-headed hos.” The comment was made after Rutgers was defeated by Tennessee in that year’s NCAA championship game. As a result of his comment, Imus was fired from his radio show and MSNBC.
Stringer said she hasn’t thought about the remarks in recent years, but that she feels Imus, 79, was remorseful. Imus requested a meeting with Stringer and the team to apologize for the things that he said on his show about them. It was then that he admitted that his words were “completely inappropriate,” “thoughtless and stupid,” according to media outlets.
Stringer said she also recalls Imus telling a reporter at that meeting that he “didn’t come to save my job, I came to save my soul.”
“He genuinely felt, I think, remorse for the words he said,” Stringer said, according to The New York Daily News. “Everybody makes mistakes and says things that they shouldn’t say. I think that our players learned a lot from that, and I’m proud of them and our basketball team.”
Stringer pointed out that this doesn’t mean that Imus’ words didn’t cut deep. “To say that it didn’t hurt is not true,” she said. However, she said her team chose to forgive Imus and that they send their condolences to his family.
“We accept it,” Stringer said. “And we move forward.”