Mark Twain once said that it was "Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." Perhaps Don Imus never heard that bit of wisdom.
As you've no doubt heard by now, Imus, who lost his job last year after comments on the Rutgers University women's basketball team, found himself at the center of more controversy once again while discussing
'Pacman' Adam Jones on his show yesterday with sportscaster Warner Wolf.
Wolf: “Defensive back Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones, recently signed by the Cowboys. Here’s a guy suspended all of 2007 following a shooting in a Vegas night club.”
Imus: “Well, stuff happens. You’re in a night club, for God’s sake. What do you think’s gonna happen in a night club? People are drinking, they’re doing drugs. There are women there, and people have guns. So, there, go ahead.”
Wolf: “He’s also been arrested six times since being drafted by Tennessee in 2005.”
Imus: “What color is he?”
Wolf: “He’s African-American.”
Imus: “Well, there you go. Now we know.”
Jones heard the quote last night, and was obviously not happy.
"I'm truly upset about the comments," Jones said. "Obviously Mr. Imus has problems with African-Americans. I'm upset, and I hope the station he works for handles it accordingly. I will pray for him."
"No man has more discussions about race than I have," he said. "Why not report on that? I know some people want to get me, but this is ridiculous."
Imus pointed out that his show has a black producer and two black co-hosts. During his Tuesday morning show, the radio host said Jones was arrested six times because police were "picking on him."
"He's a football player. He is a lovely kid. He was out there having fun," Imus said
Imus said he was defending blacks with his Monday remarks.
"What people should be outraged about is that they arrest blacks for no reason, and I mean there's no reason to arrest this kid six times," he said. "They shoot blacks for no reason."
Ignore (if you can) that pointing out your show "has a black producer and two black co-hosts" is a rather poor argument, maybe Imus was, in fact, trying to speak to a larger issue, hoping to point out that Jones was targeted by police because he was black. Maybe. But at this point, Imus is (probably) past the point of receiving the benefit of the doubt from the American public. Regardless of how "sarcastic" a point he was trying to make.