Kia Vaughn, the center on the Rutgers women's' basketball team, is suing Don Imus (and the broadcasters) for his derogatory remarks about the Lady Knights.
Vaughn was humiliated, embarrassed and publicly mocked for the comments, the lawsuit claims.
No dollar amount was specified in the suit. And rest assured, despite the announcement of Imus' $20M settlement with CBS earlier in the day, this is about respect.
Vaughn, who was a center, had spoken out about Imus on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in April. She said that the comments overshadowed her team's amazing season, one the coach has called the most rewarding of her career. "Our moment was stolen from us," Vaughn said then. "Instead of us coming here to enjoy what we accomplished and how far we came, we had to sit back and look at media asking questions about what he said."
And certainly, one would expect that in the world of high profile college sports, nothing would ever overshadow the game. Nothing would detract from the moment for the players.
We can look to men's sports as the precedent. The players always come first. Their experience and the chance to bask in the moment always are the paramount focus building up to any big game. And after big games, they are exclusively allowed the chance to enjoy the moment without any intrusion from the media.
It's only fair for a female team to expect the same treatment. Particularly when the culprit --the moment stealing thief-- is a half-baked, semi-coherent shock jock.
And then, the media scrutiny.
It seems only fair that Imus pay. And pay dearly for what he put these women through and for damaging their reputation.
Calling them "ho's" insinuated that they were prostitutes. And it forced the women to hold press conferences and appear on talk shows to explain. To explain that; no, no they aren't prostitutes. Despite the lewd off handed attempt to be funny by the ancient shock jock, they were wonderful student athletes. Examples for young women everywhere to follow.
The women even had to endure article after article and column after column written in support of their character and demonizing the man that attempted to sully their good name.
We can only imagine the pain these women experienced as they were burdened with the equivalent of a "scarlet letter" hung 'round their collective neck. Imagining that every male eye that gazed upon them was considering, "wonder how much those Rutgers women that I think are prostitutes because Imus called them ho's charge for an around the world?"
We shudder at the thought.
We shudder at the life altering after effects. Clearly, all these girls want is to return to the anonymity they enjoyed before Imus verbally savaged them.
But they can't.
Litigation requires them to file papers. And filing papers means the media will report it.
The damaging cycle created by Imus continues.
"This is about Kia Vaughn's good name," Ancowitz said. "She would do anything to return to her life as a student and respected basketball player -- a more simple life before Imus opened his mouth on April 4."
And clearly, the main step in the healing process is having her lawyer hold a press conference to alert the world to the law suit.
Let the healing begin.