Missing among the outraged voices in the scandal surrounding Don Imus and his incredibly stupid comments about the Rutgers women’s basketball team is any statement from the University of Tennessee women’s basketball program. I haven’t scoured the entire web for their response, but a look through their team website finds no statement responding to Imus’ racist and sexist comments about the Rutgers team (the Rutgers site, however, has links to several articles and statements on the controversy). This is disappointing. I would hope that the Lady Vols would join in solidarity with their fellow student-athletes over at Rutgers and reject Imus’ racist and sexist statements.
But if they wouldn’t join cause with the women from Rutgers, perhaps they would simply stand up for themselves. After all, (appropriately) less noticed in Imus’ comments are his sexually objectifying words about the Tennessee team – "And the girls from Tennessee,
they all look cute." These student-athletes just won the national championship, and all Imus can say about them is that they are "cute"? Of course, these comments pale in comparison with what he said about the mostly African-American Rutgers team, but I would hope that someone in a Lady Vols uniform would speak up – in defense of the women from Rutgers, or at least in defense of themselves as women student-athletes. But then again, we are talking about the Lady Vols, and perhaps "speaking up" is just not Lady-like. Whatever the reason, their silence is deafening.
The Lady Vols may have won the championship, but the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, in resisting the brutal forces of sexism and racism, have won the day.