Politics and Technology.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

RU Embarassed?

In the news this evening is a, frankly, shocking development in what should be yesterday's news. I'm talking about Kia Vaughn's lawsuit against Don Imus.

As you may have guessed, or heard, Kia is (or perhaps, was) a player on Rutgers' Women's Basketball team. She's suing Don Imus for her "damaged reputation."

As an alum (RC `94) and current Masters candidate, I am truly embarrassed. I thought sports activities were supposed to develop character, character of the kind that allows you to rise above adversity.

Succumbing to the litigious culture that pervades our society reveals a weak personality that is only interested in cashing in on someone else's fortune. Absent any further information that is available to the public at this time, I believe Kia has allowed herself to exhibit this kind of weakness.

In this case, it is the puzzlingly successful Don Imus's fortune that is the target of this seemingly greedy impulse. I am not a fan of Don Imus. I recall fondly his ribbing of Edison High School's marching band, but that's as far as I can say I was ever entertained by him.

His offhanded remark about the Rutgers team was just another feeble attempt by the unfunny Imus to keep his dated material "hip." Offensive, maybe, but not something that anyone would say was a true, believable characterization of the Rutgers team. No reasonable person listening to the show would honestly believe his characterization.

Before making a kerfuffle over such as non-event, no reasonable person would expect such a comment to impact anyone on the team. However, now that the women of the Rutgers team decided to grab the spotlight and make it a big issue, I can easily make the case that someone would be LESS likely to regard the players in esteem as they have shown how thin-skinned and weak they are in handling a trivial event. How would I, as an employer, weigh their candidacy for a position knowing their inability to deal with insults in a dignified manner? I'd be afraid they would not be able to handle themselves in a high stress situation.

My point is that anyone can easily make a case that the players did more damage to their own reputation than any harm offered by Don Imus' off-the-cuff parody.

What could our sports programs be teaching our students that would lure them into the trap of what seems like easy money rather than looking to turn the event into something could pay lifelong dividends by having shown grace under pressure to any would-be employer, partner or investor?

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