Don Imus was all apologies when the fire was raining down on him for calling the Rutgers' women's basketball team names. But he's not taking his firing sitting down, according to Fortune.com. They report that the DJ plans to sue CBS radio for the $40 million remaining on his contract.
At first, the alleged suit seems laughable. Imus messed up, he got fired, and now he wants his big paycheck for doing nothing. But nothing is that simple. A source tells Fortune that Imus' contract urged him to be "confrontational and irreverent," and that he was promised a warning before he was fired. I'm no contract lawyer, but if that, especially the last bit, is really in Imus' contract, he may have a case.
It could get really interesting from here on out, however, if the suit does come to pass. Imagine suited up lawyers trying to define "confrontational and irreverent." I would think that CBS's side of things would be that it's one thing to be irreverent about public figures, another thing to use a tasteless racial slur against college women who've never asked to be in the public eye in quite the same way.
The "warning" language, if it exists, is more interesting. Did CBS really put that in Imus' contract? Had they thought that through? If the DJ did something severe enough to rate a warning, couldn't CBS have foreseen that a public outcry akin to the Rutgers situation would erupt? High-priced lawyers on both sides must be licking their chops at the prospect of delving into the actual contract language because if it's at all as Fortune represents, there could be a million loopholes on either side of the fence. If anyone thought Imus' firing meant his name would stay out of the news for a time, stay tuned. It looks like things are just heating up.