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NABJ president demands firing of Imus

NEW YORK -- Radio host Don Imus, as well as the radio station that produces his show, apologized Friday for
calling the Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy
headed hos" on his nationally syndicated program.

The National Association of Black Journalists demanded his
immediate firing after the man known as "Imus in the Morning" put
his foot deep in his mouth Wednesday. Imus questioned the players'
looks, describing them as tattooed "rough girls." His producer
compared the team -- which has eight black members -- to the NBA's Toronto Raptors.


Near the start of Friday's show, Imus said he wanted to
"apologize for an insensitive and ill-conceived remark we made the
other morning referring to the Rutgers women's basketball team."


"It was completely inappropriate, and we can understand why
people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and
stupid, and we are sorry."


WFAN-AM reiterated those sentiments.


"We are disappointed by Imus' actions earlier this week which
we find completely inappropriate,'' the station said in a statement
Friday. "We fully agree that a sincere apology was called for and
will continue to monitor the program's content going forward."


Gregory Lee, an NABJ officer and senior assistant sports editor
at The Boston Globe, said the mea culpa did little to atone for the
comments.

"You can apologize, but what does that mean when you have a
history of making disparaging remarks about people?" Lee asked
about the acid-tongued Imus. "This kind of behavior must be
punished. I hope the company and sponsors he has take some sort of
action ... to educate him."

NABJ president Bryan Monroe asked Thursday if Imus had "lost
his mind" and called for the veteran radio host's dismissal.

Imus was speaking with producer Bernard McGurk when the NCAA
title game between Rutgers and Tennessee came up.

"That's some rough girls from Rutgers," Imus said. "Man, they got tattoos ... "

"Some hardcore hos," said McGurk.

"That's some nappy headed hos there, I'm going to tell you that," Imus said.

Imus, a member of the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame and one
of the nation's best-known radio voices, is renowned for his
caustic style and politically incorrect verbal broadsides. His show
is syndicated to millions of listeners at more than 70 stations
around the country.

WFAN-AM, the home of Imus' show, declined comment. At MSNBC,
where the radio program is simulcast on television, officials offered Imus no support.

"'Imus in the Morning' is not a production of the cable network
and is produced by WFAN Radio," said a statement from the network.
"As Imus makes clear every day, his views are not those of MSNBC.
We regret that his remarks were aired on MSNBC and apologize for
these offensive comments."

In a joint statement, NCAA President Myles Brand and Rutgers
President Richard McCormick condemned Imus' slur.

"The NCAA and Rutgers University are offended by the insults on
MSNBC's Don Imus program toward the 10 young women on the Rutgers
basketball team," their statement read. "It is unconscionable
that anyone would use the airways to utter such disregard for the
dignity of human beings who have accomplished much and deserve
great credit."