Veteran radio talk show host Don Imus died Friday morning at the age of 79 after being hospitalized since Christmas Eve, and although many are hailing him as a legend, others are quick to point out some of the low-points of his career.
Imus died at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in College Station, Texas. His family did not mention a cause of death, but the radio host had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009 and battled other ailments in his later years.
The Rutgers Incident
On April 4, 2007, during a discussion about the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship on his radio show, Imus characterized the Rutgers University women's basketball team as "rough girls," and "nappy-headed hos." His executive producer also referred to the women athletes as "hardcore hos" and commented that the two teams looked like the "jigaboos versus the wannabes."
The advertisers from his show immediately pulled their money and he was first suspended and then ultimately fired by CBS over the remarks. He faced backlash from other celebrities, including his longtime radio rival Howard Stern, who came out and claimed he too had heard racist remarks from Imus in the past.
Soon after Imus' death was announced, the memory of his most controversial incident went viral and Twitter began trending with "Nappy Headed Hoes."
"I was a child when “nappy headed hoes” took over the 24 hour news and it’s the only reason I know who Don Imus is. You can talk about his charity work & how he was nice to people he deemed were worthy. But his legacy is that #1 trending topic & it’s nobody’s fault but his own," one person commented.
Another wrote, "Don Imus died ? The same Don Imus that called those WNBA players “nappy-headed hoes” ? ... LMFAO good riddance n---a."
It wasn't all trashing Imus though, as a few people jumped in to defend the late star.
"I never listened to Don Imus but I'm saddened at his passing for his family. I think it is shameful to use this time to start trending Nappy Headed Hoes and attacking a man whose family is hurting. This is not the time. Have some class," one person wrote.
He Later Apologized
Imus did later apologize for the remarks about the Rutgers team, however the damage was already done and he never fully recovered from the dark stain on his professional career.
"I want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill-conceived remark we made the other morning regarding the Rutgers women's basketball team, which lost to Tennessee in the NCAA championship game on Tuesday. It was completely inappropriate and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry."