Rutgers women's basketball coach speaks out

C. Vivian Stringer responds to Don Imus

Published April 10, 2007 8:16PM (EDT)

It's been quite a week for Don Imus. As noted in Broadsheet yesterday, he's dug himself into a huge hole by referring to the women of the Rutgers basketball team as "nappy-headed hos." He's since been suspended from the air for two weeks, might end up losing his job, and has sparked a huge media reaction -- including this from Joan Walsh, and this from Jonathan Miller.

Now the women of Rutgers have issued their own response. A press conference this morning featured comments by two of the players and a long statement from C. Vivian Stringer, the team coach. (To watch a full video of the conference, click here.)

Imus may have since apologized for his comments, but his words have no traction with Stringer, who called his words "deplorable, despicable, abominable and unconscionable."

"They are young ladies of class, distinction. They are articulate. They are gifted. They are God's representatives in every sense of the word," she told reporters.

Then she really got going. "There is a bigger issue here," she said. "It's more than the Rutgers women's basketball team. It is all women athletes. It is all women. Have we lost a sense of our own moral fiber? Has society decayed to such a point that we can forgive and forget because you know what, it was just a slip of the tongue? I'm going to suggest that bright, thinking people give thought before they speak."

(For a detailed account of the press conference, check out the AP.)

Stringer and her players announced that they had agreed to meet with Imus for a private conference, in an undisclosed location. In the meantime, his job hangs on the line. But no matter what happens in the end, Stringer's sincere, passionate comments proved one thing: the Scarlet Knights have a coach who is truly committed to them, both on and off the court.

By Catherine Price

Catherine Price is an award-winning journalist and author of Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food. Her written and multimedia work has appeared in publications including The Best American Science Writing, The New York Times, Popular Science, O: The Oprah Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Slate, Men’s Journal, Mother Jones, PARADE, Health Magazine, and Outside. Price lives in Philadelphia.

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