During a conversation about [Dallas Cowboys qb] Jones' run-ins with the law, Imus asked, "What color is he?" Sports announcer Warner Wolf said Jones — formerly known as Pacman — is "African-American." Imus responded: "There you go. Now we know."Imus' reasoning behind his statement:
Imus resurrected his radio career six months ago with a pledge to mend the wounds caused by a racist and sexist comment he made about a women's basketball team.
On Tuesday he said he was following the spirit of that promise by calling attention to the unfair treatment of blacks — in this case the arrests of suspended Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones.
"What people should be outraged about is that they arrest blacks for no reason," Imus said Tuesday. "I mean, there's no reason to arrest this kid six times. Maybe he did something once, but everyone does something once."
Imus apparently claims that he was trying to “make a sarcastic point,” and says some crap about how he has black people on his show, so the comment could not have been racist. Obviously. With regards to the comment, he also wondered aloud, seemingly without irony, “How insane would I have to be? What would I be thinking?There's also an online audio clip with full context, if anyone is interested in hearing.
So now that we've all heard pretty much all sides of the issue that could possibly be heard, what do I think? I think Imus wasn't trying to be racist. I really do think that he was trying to say that American blacks, the activities that they engage in, and the places that they go, are all unfairly targeted by law enforcement. Do I think he holds some prejudiced beliefs about black people? Sure I do. Clearly he does. Duh. Do I think you should write to his radio sponsors in rage? Probably not.
Imus has some really outdated and prejudiced ideas about race. He's an old dude. He was alive when the appropriate word for a black American was 'negro'. It seems like he's trying to do something constructive, to say something constructive, about people who he realizes have gotten the short end of the American stick. So you will hear no rage from me about this. Please feel free to disagree with me here.
I'll leave the last word to Mr. Jones himself.
"I'm truly upset about the comments," Jones said. "Obviously Mr. Imus has problems with African-Americans. I'm upset, and I hope the station he works for handles it accordingly. I will pray for him."