BEIJING, April 11 (Xinhuanet) -- A class valedictorian, musical prodigy and future lawyer are among 10 members of the Rutgers women's basketball team radio talk show host Don Imus labeled "nappy-headed hos" the day after the team lost the NCAA basketball championship game to Tennessee.
"I achieve a lot, and unless they have given this name 'ho' a new definition, then that is not what I am," said Kia Vaughn, the team's sophomore center. Vaughn and the other nine members of the Rutgers women's basketball team spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday.
The women, eight of whom are black, called Imus' comments insensitive and hurtful. Some of them wiped away tears as their coach, C. Vivian Stringer, criticized Imus for "racist and sexist remarks that are deplorable, despicable, abominable and unconscionable."
"It kind of scars us. We grew up in a world where racism exists, and there's nothing we can do to change that," said Matee Ajavon, a junior guard. "I think that this has scarred me for life."
The women agreed to meet with Imus privately next Tuesday and hear his explanation. They did not say whether they'd accept Imus' apologies or pass judgment on whether a two-week suspension imposed by CBS Radio and MSNBC was sufficient.
Rutgers' athletic director, Robert E. Mulcahy III, thought a meeting with Imus would offer the players an opportunity to listen to him and hear what he has to say. Several players said they wanted to ask the host why he would make such thoughtless statements.
"We all agreed the meeting with Mr. Imus will help," said Essence Carson, a junior forward. "We do hope to get something accomplished during this meeting."
The fallout from the comments continued Tuesday. Office supply chain Staples Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co. said they pulled advertising from Imus' show, and Bigelow Tea said the remarks have "put our future sponsorship in jeopardy."