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God To Don Imus: Can You Hear Me Now?

By       Message Colleen Turner     Permalink
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Don Imus you really blew it this time, but you already know this.  You also know you are far from the first or worst offender when it comes to race, sex, and ethnic slurs on the airwaves.  You are probably wondering why this massive focus of attention has suddenly descended upon you.

Perhaps the Lord really does love a drunk (a.k.a. addict) and S/He has chosen you to deliver the most important message of your lifetime to hearts and minds around the globe:  A message of uncompromising humility and cross-cultural sensitivity, a trait rarely associated with Americans these days. 


Presumably, you are financially secure and if you never work another day, you won’t suffer material hardship.  However, if you are as sincere as you have appeared to be about helping sick children, injured troops, and boldly addressing a range of political disparities in support of  "the least of these," you must be hurting to think that these good deeds may be going away along with your programs.

If you had been allowed to continue down this road of mindless disparagement without redress, our nation would be the greatest loser.   It looks to me like you got lucky, really lucky, because you now have your biggest audience ever and a chance to show the world what you are really made of.  


I have been a champion athlete, a college-level women's team coach, and both of my children played team sports at the national collegiate level.   If my own daughter had been on the Rutgers team, I wouldn’t be saying anything different to you than I am right now.

I am not interested in your being punished.   I want you to make restitution to this team and all of those you’ve disparaged over the years to earn a buck.  I am convinced you are ornery and determined enough to make amends in a way that will deeply touch anyone who is still willing to let you make good on your intentions. 

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I have already said my peace about you to the Rutgers women’s basketball team http://www.huffingtonpost.com/colleen-turner/an-open-letter-to-the-rut_b_45593.htmland but that is only half of the picture.  You have successfully dealt with a lot of demons in your life and this is your opportunity to exorcise the remaining ones.     


If I was your coach, I’d be telling you to suck it up, take your lickings, and then get back out on the playing field in whatever way you can.  Before you do that, however, I'd tell you to find a coach who can show you how to stop digging the hole you are already in even deeper.

You need to let your indifferent supporters, associates, and anyone else on the planet who still thinks it is OK to put people down in a mean-spirited stereotyping way to shape up -- because of what you’ve learned and why it matters.  


I don’t care if you have to grovel and beg to get your message out.  This will help you understand what it is like for those who have spent their lives striving to overcome the disrespect fostered by the stereotypes you flaunt.

Perhaps a prayer you prayed long ago has finally gotten around to being answered, just not in the way you thought it would.  Perhaps the Lord is working with you in a mysterious way.  Using you as a key messenger for inspiring the practice of noble ideals would surely be divinely ironic.

If you are the person I think you capable of becoming, this "game" has just begun.  So take a time out if you need one, get really clear about your intentions, and then knock it out of the park!   You may just be the catalyst we need to help Americans become proud to be humbled winners in the end.

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Colleen Turner, Ph.D. is an executive coach, management trainer, consultant, and speaker who focuses on transformational communications. She is a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve Lieutenant Colonel who has designed and evaluated terrorist defense (more...)

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