Rutgers women’s basketball coach offers condolences to Don Imus’ family

Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer has offered her condolences to the family of the late radio legend Don Imus, who used a racial slur to describe the women’s basketball team in 2007.

“The Rutgers family has found peace through the years, and we are proud of our response to hateful words spoken years ago,” Stringer, 71, said in a statement, four days after Imus died at age 79 of complications from lung disease.

“We are proud of the positive change it has brought about and the lesson that came with it — women and African Americans should be treated with respect, not only in the media, but in all walks of life,” the coach said in the statement after the Scarlet Knights’ 66-56 loss to Indiana.

“It is our prayer that Don finds eternal peace in his passing and we wish his family strength,” she added.

In 2007, the controversial shock jock lost his “Imus in the Morning” spot on WFAN and a TV gig on MSNBC after describing the Knights as “nappy-headed hos” on his show when the team lost the NCAA championship game to Nashville’s Lady Volunteers.

He would be hired later that year by WABC and continue his career. His radio show was also simulcast on television on the Fox Business Network from 2009 to 2015.

Imus apologized repeatedly, calling his remark “completely inappropriate … thoughtless and stupid,” and met with the team to hear how his comment hurt them.

Stringer said she hasn’t thought much about Imus since forgiving him years ago.

She said she met with him after he used the slur and he told her he “didn’t come to save his job but to save his soul. That’s what he said, and he felt remorse for the words he said.

“To say that it didn’t hurt isn’t true. But if you allow those hurtful things to consume you, they own you. We’ve forgiven him and moved on,” she said.

“He genuinely felt, I think, remorse for the words he said. Everybody makes mistakes and says things that they shouldn’t say. I think that our players learned a lot from that, and I’m proud of them and our basketball team,” she added.

Stringer, who at the time called Imus’ comments “racist and sexist remarks that are deplorable, despicable and unconscionable,” admitted that the controversy remains an indelible part of her legacy as the Rutgers coach.

“I’m tied to that now. No getting around that. It is what it is. Proud of the way the team responded. Proud of the support we got from so many fans and people. Proud of the fact we stood up for what’s right. All our players learned a really good lesson.”

With Post wires

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