Longtime Rutgers women’s basketball coach Vivian Stringer has made a statement about the talk show host’s passing, and she offered her condolences to his family. Where some have harbored unforgiveness over the years, Stringer said that she hasn’t even thought about the scandal for quite some time. However, Imus’s previous insults still hit hard.
“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 said in a statement. “As African-American women, we don’t feel that we should be treated ― or anyone else should be treated ― like that.” She added, “He genuinely felt, I think, remorse for the words he said. 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.”
Imus — a longtime disc jockey who was once named one of Time Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Americans — was fired from both his radio show and MSNBC in 2007 for describing Stringer and the Knights as “nappy-headed hos” after they fell to Tennessee in the NCAA championship game that year.
His comments quickly drew widespread condemnation, including from then Sen. Barack Obama, who was in the midst of his ultimately successful presidential campaign.
Imus later apologized, calling his comments “completely inappropriate … thoughtless and stupid.” He met with both Stringer and her team in person, too.
During that meeting, Stringer said Imus told her that he “didn’t come to save his job, but to save his soul.”