For starters, I am not a fan of Don Imus.
I never watch his TV show except when visiting friends who do. His trademark of making fun of people is galling. He ought to look in the mirror now and then. Too many politicians and journalists are willing to give legitimacy to his program with their appearances.
At the same time, his main tormentorsAl Sharpton and Jesse Jacksonare hardly shining lights of virtue. After all, we all have our demons to deal with.
But both Sharpton and Jackson are politicians as well as ministers. They have both run for president and so should recognize they are fair game as public figures.
For example, Sharpton refuses to apologize for his role in the Tawana Brawley phony charge of rape some 20 years ago. He pointedly refused to apologize when reporters gave him the opportunity in the presidential race four years ago. Not exactly a profile in accountability by Sharpton, who demands it from others.
As for Jackson, his use of the word "Hymietown" in the 1988 campaign to describe New York City was a blunder. While he denies he is anti-Semitic, Jackson seems to have his share of troubles with Jews.
Sharpton and Jackson, civil rights activists as well as politicians, are always fast on the scene when there is a disturbance with African-Americans. They are in the forefront when the cameras are rolling.
Make no mistake; they have every right to be there. Both are highly articulate and usually effective in such circumstances. However, they are subject to criticism as well.
More striking to me in this sad episode of the proud Rutgers basketball team are the remarks of the coach, C. Vivian Stringer, and two talented journalists, Gwen Ifill of PBS and Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune.
Stringer defended her team in a brilliant oration against Imus. Ifill and Page have both felt the sting of Imus's racial slurs and covered themselves with honor in their responses to Imus.
Stringer, Ifill, and Page carry more weight with me than Sharpton and Jackson. As for Imus, he is suffering, and well he should be, as this ugly affair continues.