Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Rutgers smashes Imus

Heather Zurich's remarks Following is a transcript of remarks made this morning by Heather Zurich, a member of the Rutgers women’s basketball team, at a news conference in Piscataway, N.J., as recorded by The New York Times:

I’m Heather Zurich, a sophomore and proud member of the Rutgers women’s basketball team. This week and last, we should have been celebrating our accomplishments this past season.

Many of the media here may not realize my team started out the season with a record of 2-4. We were at the lowest of lows. Coach Stringer called us her worst defensive team ever. But we — the 10 of us here — prevailed. We fought, we persevered and most of all we believed in ourselves. We won 22 of 25 games to finish the season before falling to Tennessee in the national championship game. We won the Big East championship along the way, the first ever, and advanced to the N.C.A.A. tournament. We shocked a lot of people and arrived in Cleveland at the Final Four.

But this team did not settle for just showing up. We reached what many would only dream of, the N.C.A.A. title game. But all of our accomplishments were lost, our moment was taken away, our moment to celebrate our success, our moment to realize how far we had come both on and off the court as young women. We were stripped of this moment by the degrading comments made by Mr. Imus last Wednesday.

What hurts the most about this situation is that Mr. Imus knows not one of us personally. He doesn’t know that Matee is the funniest person you will ever meet, Kia is the big sister you never had but always wanted, and Pipf would make an unbelievable lawyer one day. These are my teammates, my family. And we were insulted, and yes we were angry. Worst of all, my team and I did nothing to deserve neither Mr. Imus’ nor Mr. McGuirk’s deplorable comments. Our families are upset and with good reason. Instead of enjoying our first day off in a month to celebrate Easter with our families, this was the topic of conversation.

The 10 of us up here attend the eighth-oldest institution of higher education in the country, and not to mention one of the most difficult academically. We are 10, simply put, student athletes. But this morning, instead of attending study hall and class, I stand here to address you about something that never should have happened.

I’m extremely proud of my teammates. I’m proud when we walk through an airport on the way to or from a road trip, dressed alike in Rutgers gear with pressed pants and nice shoes. I believe we present ourselves well, both on and off the court, even though Mr. Imus seemed to think differently.

But then again, he knows not one of us.

Team captain Essence Carson "At first we thought to let it slide, but when we read the transcript, we decided it was unacceptable." Carson added, "He's a broadcaster that gets his show across to so many people. Can you imagine how many people thought, 'Maybe there is some truth to this'?"

Coach C Vivian Stringer "In my mind, this is a time for change because it’s not about just these young women. I ask you, no matter who you are, who could have heard these comments and not been personally offended? It’s not about the Rutgers women’s basketball team, it’s about women. Are women hos? Think about that. Would you want your daughter called a ho? It’s not about us as black people or as nappy-headed. It’s about us as people—black, white, purple or green. And as much as I speak about that, it’s not even black and white—the color is green. How could anyone not have been personally hurt when there is no equality for all or when equality is denied? These young ladies have done nothing wrong. Some of you might point to the fact that he (Don Imus) makes comments about other political figures or other professionals. But these ladies are not professionals or political figures. They are 18, 19, 20 year-old women who came here to get an education and reach their gifts for all to see. These are young women little girls look up to and we as adults, at what point do not call upon people to stop? There is a bigger issue here, more than the basketball team. It’s all women athletes, it’s all women. Have we lost a sense of our own moral fiber? Has society decayed to such a point where we forgive and forget because it was just a slip of the tongue? I’m going to suggest that people give thought before they speak."

Imus Protest! Unruly-Haired Hater at WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND…

Your Standard Sucks (The White Lens IV) at The Unapologetic Mexican

Imus Updates and Commentary at The Primary Contradiction

Asshat Imus at Zuky

Memo to White Folks and the Mass Media
at Zuky

Transcript of the press conference

An awesome roundup of links on the issue:
Resources for Oustin Imus – A Round-up at The Antiessentialist Conundrum