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Sharpton Responds to Imus’ “Pacman” Comments; Imus Clarifies

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Despite his vow to do better after being suspended for offensive comments about the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball Team, Don Imus is at the center of a new incident involving race.  During Imus’ WABC-AM radio show on Monday (June 23), the radio jock and sports announcer Warner Wolf were discussing a request made by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones on Saturday (June 21) for people to quit using his nickname “Pacman.” After Wolf mentioned Jones’ NFL suspension following a shooting at a Las Vegas nightclub and added that Jones had been “arrested six times since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005,” Imus responded by asking “What color is he?” Wolf then told the on-air personality that Jones is African-American, after which Imus said: “There you go. Now we know.” Imus’ remarks come six months after his return to the airwaves after being fired from MSNBC and CBS Radio for making a sexist and racially charged comment about the Rutgers team. Upon his return, Imus vowed to use his new show on WABC to encourage an open dialogue on race relations after issuing an on-air apology.  The shock jock’s new controversy has triggered a reaction from the Rev. Al Sharpton, who criticized Imus’ comment. “It has been reported to me that statements were made by Mr. Imus this morning and National Action Network has monitored his show since his return,” said the civil rights activist said in a statement. “I find the inference of his remark disturbing because it plays into stereotypes. Any use of stereotypes is always counterproductive. We will determine in the next day or so whether or not his remark warrants direct action on our part as we did in April of last year.” Soon after Sharpton issued his response, Imus defended what he said in a statement released by his spokesman.  “I meant that he was being picked on because he’s black,” Imus stated. Although Imus garnered criticism for his on-air remarks, WABC and Citadel Broadcasting Corp. Vice President Phil Boyce told the Associated Press that it was unlikely that the talk radio personality would face disciplinary action in light of Imus explaining his actions during a private conversation Monday afternoon.  “I think some people may be misunderstanding what he meant,” said Boyce, who added that Imus would discuss his comments on his Tuesday (June 24) morning show.

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