Magazine article The American Conservative

Tale of Two Teams

Magazine article The American Conservative

Tale of Two Teams

Article excerpt

[MEDIA]

It's doubtful that any internal media story has approached the frenzy level of the Don Imus saga. The three-word insult he leveled at the Rutgers women's basketball team was of course undeserved and once widely broadcast robbed the young players of what could have been a sweet lifelong memory. Imus apologized sincerely, knowing he had done a bad thing, but his myriad of attackers had no intention of accepting the confession they demanded.

The Imus show has long been laced with ribald mimicry and insults-often mixed with insight. The vulgarism he used for the Rutgers team was the same he uses in referring to his wife, the "green ho." That hardly excuses his depiction of the basketball players, but it likely shows that Imus was more interested in asserting his own coolness by flinging around hip-hop talk than in practicing racism.

Of course nothing could save his job once half the country commenced a status competition to assert its moral purity by denouncing the radio titan. That Al Sharpton, perpetrator of the Tawana Brawley hoax-for which he has never apologized-emerged as one of the judges in this contest is simply beyond parody.

Around that time, it came to light that another sports team had also been injured by powerful media figures-a group of young men every bit as innocent and undeserving of insult as the Rutgers women. But the Duke men's lacrosse team was not slighted by an over-the-top shock jock. It endured a year-long assault by rogue District Attorney Michael Nifong, who ignored exculpatory evidence in order to push what he hoped would be a career-boosting prosecution. …

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