Stringer continues to hope Imus' words affect change
Amid the announcement that radio personality Don Imus is returning to the airwaves, Rutgers women's basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer said she remains angry over the racist and sexist remarks made by the shock jock about her players.Imus is scheduled to return to radio Dec. 3 for the morning-drive slot on WABC-AM, based in New York. After making the comments last April following Rutgers' appearance in the NCAA championship game, Imus became the target of heated protests. Despite making a public apology and another in the company of Stringer and the Scarlet Knights players that they accepted, he was fired shortly thereafter. "I figured that he probably would be going back at some point, and as we said all along, we never said he should never work again," Stringer said in a recent interview with ESPN's Doris Burke. " He bothered to give a description of our team and I won't kid you, I was and still am very angry with that. "But at the end of the day, what can we do? We could have fallen into the same ditch that we all do and call him all these names and demand that he be fired and all these other things. But I think that if he's sincere about his apologies and his remarks to our players, then we'll see a much-changed Imus."
Members of the Rutgers team were honored last month by the Women's Sports Foundation with the Wilma Rudolph Courage Award. The award is presented annually to female athletes who exhibit extraordinary courage, surmount adversity, contribute to sports and inspires others.
The Scarlet Knights won 27 games last season en route to the Big East championship and the women's NCAA final in April, where they lost to Tennessee. In the past, Stringer has said she hoped the furor Imus' words caused would be a catalyst for change. She reiterated the sentiment in her interview with ESPN. "Let me tell you how serious this is ... God knows that I would love to win the national championship, and I have been in pursuit of this all of my life," Stringer said. "But, if I were given the choice -- do you wish to speak to the world and really have an effect or a change and make people feel better, or to win a national championship, if I have to choose between the two -- I would take what happened this year because far more people paid attention and far more people were really and truly affected than a basketball game could ever have been."
Rutgers, ranked third in the ESPN/USA Today preseason coaches' poll, opens its season Nov. 11 at home against defending Pac-10 champion Stanford.