Don Imus, responding to criticism about racial remarks on his radio program, said on the air Tuesday that he was trying to “make a sarcastic point” about unfair treatment of blacks in the criminal justice system but had been misunderstood.
Imus resurrected his radio career six months ago with a pledge to mend the wounds caused by a racist and sexist comment he made about a women's basketball team.
On Tuesday he said he was following the spirit of that promise by calling attention to the unfair treatment of blacks – in this case the arrests of suspended Dallas Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones.
“What people should be outraged about is that they arrest blacks for no reason,” Imus said Tuesday. “I mean, there's no reason to arrest this kid six times. Maybe he did something once, but everyone does something once.”
He called the flurry of criticism surrounding the comments “ridiculous” and said that his program's cast is now more diverse than ever – and includes a black producer and two black co-hosts, a man and a woman.
“How insane would I have to be? What would I be thinking?” Imus said.
The latest comments by Imus to come under scrutiny were aired on Monday's broadcast. During a conversation about Jones' run-ins with the law, Imus asked, “What color is he?” Sports announcer Warner Wolf said Jones – formerly known as Pacman – “is African American.” Imus responded: “There you go. Now we know.”
The on-air exchange came months after Imus' return to work on a new show on WABC-AM following his firing from MSNBC and CBS Radio for disparaging the Rutgers University women's basketball team.