By Scott Tibbs, August 16, 2007
Kia Vaughn, who played for the Rutgers women's basketball team, has filed a lawsuit against Don Imus, who called the team "a bunch of nappy headed hos" on his radio program. Imus was released by CBS as the rhetoric over the manufactured crisis became very heated and brought the attention of Democratic Presidential candidates Barack "The Hypocrite" Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Many people justifiably had sympathy for the Rutgers players, who had their moment in the sun mocked by a national figure while the mainstream media (always looking to sensationalize the news) focused much more on the insult than on the accomplishments of the basketball team. That sympathy has been erased, at least for the women who have become completely hysterical in response to the insult from Imus.
As the controversy was boiling over, Rutgers player Matee Ajavon made the laughable comment that "I think that this has scarred me for life." Oh, please. Grow up and get over it. If the coarse words of a radio talk show host known for being a jerk scar you for life, then perhaps you're not mature enough to be attending college at all. When commenting on the team's success in the NCAA tournament Heather Zurich screeched "We were stripped of this moment by a degrading comment made by Mr. Imus."
What Vaughn is doing, however, is worse. She is abusing the legal system by trying to make a grab for cash. In attempting to use legal extortion to take money from Imus and his former employers, she has debased herself far more than any comment by Imus could. This also proves that she was lying when she claimed to accept Imus' apology.
Civil trial lawyer Robert Baker told ABC News "She has a slander per se case -- the word itself was something derogatory." But was it slander or was it an insult? Was Imus actually claiming that Vaughn exchanges sexual favors for money? No, he wasn't. He insulted her. While Imus deserves to be scorned for his comments, he does not owe Vaughn one penny in civil damages.
The claim that "Imus violated the players' civil rights" is just laughable. How exactly were their rights as American citizens violated? Was she denied the opportunity to exercise any of her rights under the law because Imus made a stupid and offensive remark? If someone calls Vaughn a name during a heated face-to-face argument, are her civil rights also violated, or are civil rights violations only committed by people with large bank accounts?
The Rutgers women do not need to "get their reputations back", because their reputations were not damaged by an insult from a cantankerous old man. As for their self-esteem, if their psyches are so fragile that Imus shattered their self worth, then they have a much bigger problem than the words of a radio talk show host.
The person who deserves the most scorn is Richard Ancowitz, who agreed to file the lawsuit. This is exactly the kind of person who gives all attorneys a bad name. He is wasting the court system's time and abusing the judicial system, and he should be permanently disbarred.