Single action not reflective of career points

Being originally from the New York/New Jersey area, I have come to understand and expect the antics of shock-jock Don Imus on WCBS 880 in New York. Depending on what part of the country you are from, my understanding of Imus might not necessarily be a good thing. With that being said, Imus’ recent statements about the Rutgers women’s basketball team being “nappy-headed hos” are unacceptable on every level. While I am in no way, shape or form defending what he said to the Rutgers team, I will defend him on the principle that an individual should be judged by the media for the body of his or her work, not one single act – no matter how ignorant or ill-advised it may have been.

The response to the three-word phrase resembled that of a firing line during an execution as one media outlet had its chance at Imus. CBS Radio and MSNBC television programming leveled a two-week suspension to “Imus in the Morning,” leaving the hall-of-fame talkie feeling ashamed and embarrassed during each of his apologies.

This is where the story should end, right? Well, the way people significant to the story are handling the situation is only worsening the Imus-caused problem.

Take the Rev. Al Sharpton for example. He wants to send Imus to the unemployment line and is doing everything in his power to make sure he doesn’t get another on-air job. Mind you, this coming from Sharpton, a man who sponsored a program calling for the rehabilitation of drug offenders convicted of felonies. The program’s title? Second Chance.

For Sharpton, a man of dignity, intellect and class, to treat Imus as if he were worse than a felon convicted of “pushing” heroine is deplorable.

Of course, people such as Sharpton have joined with other media outlets in putting the now-infamous clip on repeat. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have done so, but the incident needs to be put into perspective with recent societal events. Two in particular, involving Mel Gibson and Isaiah Washington of “Grey’s Anatomy,” dealt with instances of similar, isolated instances of speech toward Jews and homosexuals.

Like Imus, those two men were the topic of media discussion for days, and where are they now? Well, Gibson is still making movies and “Grey’s” executives have said Washington is in no danger of losing his spot on the hit show. If this is any indication, then skeptics questioning Imus’ future need to realize that no matter how ugly this looks that this too will pass.

People need second chances. I know this because I, like a lot of other people worldwide, have received my fair share of second chances. I haven’t met anyone who’s perfect (although Lindsay Lohan had me going for a while).

I enjoy Imus because he attracts people of political and social significance regularly and ignites meaningful discussion. He has enriched people’s lives and brought social awareness on issues that demand our attention. Having Imus’ comments overshadow Rutgers’ magical run in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament was unfortunate, but it should not send one of the greatest talkies of all time into permanent hibernation.

One stupid mistake should not define a person, but instead, should better them for the future. For this, he deserves a second chance.

Tim Bella is a junior news-editorial journalism major from Kingwood.