NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. radio personality Don Imus on Tuesday defended linking a football player’s race to brushes with the police as Imus tried to dampen a brewing race controversy over remarks he made one day earlier.
During his breakfast show on Monday on Citadel Broadcasting Corp’s ABC Radio Networks, Imus discussed Adam “Pacman” Jones, who was suspended by the National Football League in April 2007 because of his link to a Las Vegas triple shooting.
A colleague of Imus commented on how many times Jones had been arrested since he had been drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2005, and Imus asked what color he was. Told that Jones is black, Imus responded: “Well, there you go. Now we know.”
But on Tuesday Imus said during his show: “Obviously I already knew what color he was. The point was to make a sarcastic point.
“What people should be outraged about is they arrest blacks for no reason,” he said. “There’s no reason to arrest this kid six times, maybe he did something once, but I mean everybody does something once.”
CBS Radio fired Imus in April 2007 for referring to the predominantly black members of a university women’s basketball team as “nappy headed hos,” a phrase combining a derogatory term for coarse, curly hair with slang for whore.
Civil rights campaigner Rev. Al Sharpton said he found the inference in this week’s remark by Imus “disturbing.” He said his National Action Network lobby group had been monitoring Imus’ show since he returned to the airwaves in December.
“I find the inference of his remark disturbing because it plays into stereotypes. Any use of stereotypes is always counterproductive,” Sharpton said in a statement. “We will determine in the next day or so whether or not his remark warrants direct action on our part.”
Jones, 24, recently signed with the Dallas Cowboys and was cleared this month to begin practicing with the team.