Rutgers Player: "Imus Stole Our Moment"

Some members of Rutgers women's basketball team listen as coach C. Vivian Stringer speaks at a news conference on campus in Piscataway, N.J., Tuesday, April 10, 2007, to react to remarks directed at her team made on air by radio personality Don Imus. The team said they would meet privately with Imus. Players are Rashidat Junaid, from left, Myia McCurdy, Brittany Ray, Epiphanny Prince and Dee Dee Jernigan, all freshmen.
The Rutgers' women's basketball team and coach C. Vivian Stringer appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" Thursday as furor continued over remarks made about the team by radio host Don Imus.

Stringer and the 10 team members appeared live via satellite during the first segment of the show.

"The team is holding up extremely well. We have each other and certainly the support of the American people," Stringer said.

Imus triggered an uproar April 4 when he referred to the mostly black Rutgers team as "nappy-headed hos" on his nationally syndicated radio show.

MSNBC on Wednesday said it will drop its simulcast of "Imus in the Morning," after a growing list of sponsors said they were pulling ads. CBS Corp., whose CBS Radio station WFAN produces the show, had suspended Imus without pay for two weeks at first, but announced on Thursday that his show would be dropped permanently from the network.

"We didn't have a purpose or an agenda, as to whether he's hired, fired, or whatever, so much as we wanted to have an opportunity to have a face to face meeting with him." Stringer told Winfrey. "His remarks were certainly racist and sexist. It was clear to me by the cancellation of MSNBC of the Imus show it shows that we do have a moral fiber."

Though Stringer didn't say when exactly a meeting with Imus will take place, she said, "it will happen very, very soon, perhaps it will be a catharsis of sorts."

The team spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday about the on-air comments, made the day after the team lost the NCAA championship game to Tennessee, calling them insensitive and hurtful.

Winfrey asked team members if Imus' comments stole a special moment for the team.

"His remarks definitely stole our moment of joy," said Essence Carson. "We came back from Cleveland hoping to be embraced with warm hearts and just the appreciation.

As soon as that moment seemed at its peak, the world came down on us to be the focal point of such a remark. No one actually pays attention to who actually won the game. He didn't just steal from us, he stole from a great team like Tennessee."

" ... I want to borrow a line from Maya Angelou, who is a personal mentor of mine and I know you all also feel the same way about her," Winfrey told the team. "And she has said this many times, and I say this to you, on behalf of myself and every woman that I know, you make me proud to spell my name W-O-M-A-N. You've really handled this beautifully."