Don Imus is in hot water again because of an on-air comment about race. On the jock’s Monday morning radio show, sports announcer Warner Wolf was telling Imus about the long rap sheet on Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones. After hearing about his six arrests since being drafted out of Tennessee in 2005, Imus’ first question was, “What color is he?” Wolf said Jones is African American and Imus responded, “There you go. Now we know.” Given that this exchange came just six months after Imus’ return to radio after being fired from MSNBC and CBS radio over his infamous “nappy-headed ho’s” comment about the Rutgers women’s basketball team, Imus’ critics are none too pleased; Rev. Al Sharpton called the radio host’s latest remarks ”disturbing,” and Jones himself said he would pray for Imus.
Imus responded to the hullabaloo by saying that what he meant was that Jones is being picked on because he’s black, a comment that seems to satisfy his new employers at WABC and Citadel Broadcasting Corp. Vice President Phil Boyce says it’s unlikely that any action will be taken against Imus, who went on the air this morning and said he was trying to “make a sarcastic point” with his remarks. “What people should be outraged about is that they arrest blacks for no reason,” he said. “I mean, there’s no reason to arrest this kid six times.”
Still, even if we grant that Imus isn’t stupid enough to make another blatantly racist comment on-air so soon after the Rutgers remarks, how did the guy manage to take the single fact that Jones is black and extrapolate that the athlete’s legal troubles must be a result of society picking on him because of that? Imus will probably be let off with a hand slap this time around, his fans chalking up the incident to overreaction by Sharpton and members of the media. But it’s hard not to read something more into it. Regardless of what Imus “meant” with the Jones comment, his first reaction to hearing about the athlete’s criminal record was to ask about his skin color. Perhaps the radio host’s issues with race are just too ingrained for him to restrain himself in casual conversation, and perhaps it’s time for him to hang up his hat for good. What do you think?
addCredit(“Don Imus: Al Pereira/WireImage”)