Rutgers Team Won’t Be Defined By ‘Nappy Headed Hos’ Imus Smear 5 Years Later

April 4, 2012  |  


“Nappy Headed-Hos.”

It was five years ago today that the particularly nasty barb spewed from the mouth of radio shock jock Don Imus and entered the national lexicon. In the days that followed, there were threats of boycotts and calls for firings as advertisers from American Express to Proctor & Gamble Co. fled Imus in droves.

MSNBC announced it would no longer simulcast Imus in the Morning, and after days of protestsCBS Radio eventually relented, dropping the hammer on Imus and banishing him from the airwaves, albeit temporarily.

In the middle of that storm were the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, a team comprised of eight African-Americans and two whites who were still reeling from losing in the title game of the NCAAWomen’s Tournament when they found themselves the subjects of scorn by a man they didn’t know who spoke to a national audience of millions.

In its wake there were press conferencesmea culpas and lawsuits. Five years later, Imus is back on the air, setting up shop at Cumulus-owned WABC in New York. Imus has had theoccasional racial dustup since, but nothing approaching that grand misstep that was the Rutgers basketball team.

To find many of the girls, now women, you’d have to scour the corners of the globe. Several members of the team, including Rutgers team captain Essence Carson (New York Liberty), Kia Vaughn (New York Liberty), Matee Ajavon (Washington Mystics) and Epiphanny Prince(Chicago Sky), reached the pinnacle of their sport, playing in the WNBA.

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