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A Statement by the Bishops of Newark and New Jersey regarding radio host Don Imus

The Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith, Bishop of Newark

We, the Bishops of the Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Newark and New Jersey, are enthusiastic fans and supporters of the Women’s Basketball Team of Rutgers University.

We are deeply offended by the racist, sexist and demeaning comments of radio host Don Imus about the Rutgers team. While he has been generous to many charitable causes over the years (including the Hackensack University Medical Center), Imus’ words last week were cruel, reprehensible and inexcusable. He has distracted the public from the team’s wonderful achievements and the sterling character of its members.

By their strong and mature response to Mr. Imus’ insults, these young women of Rutgers have won a greater victory than an NCAA title. Their calm dignity and quiet confidence have been blessings to behold. Their light will not be overshadowed by the bigotry and insensitivity of a powerful media icon and his corporate sponsors.

We believe that Mr. Imus should face the consequences of his actions. Pending the outcome of his meeting with the team, we look for real changes in his conduct and his program. His failure to learn from this experience should result in his removal from the air.

The Rt. Rev. Mark M. Beckwith, Episcopal Bishop of Newark
The Rt. Rev. George E. Councell, Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey
The Rt. Rev. Carol J. Gallagher, Episcopal Bishop Assistant of Newark