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Coach Stringer, the woman who helped the Rutgers players overcome obstacles at the start of the season, is now stepping up to defend her team.

She says that these young ladies are not "hos," as Imus called them. In fact, she says they are future doctors, musical prodigies, valedictorians and leaders. "These young ladies embody all of what we would hope young people [would become]," she says.

Kia Vaughn, a sophomore on the team, says she was shocked and upset when she heard Imus's remarks. "Unless 'ho' was given a new definition, then that's not who I am," she says. "That's not part of my characteristics or anything of the sort."

The controversial comment also stole the players' moment of joy, says Essence Carson, the team's captain. "We came back from Cleveland hoping to be embraced with warm hearts," she says. "As soon as that moment seemed like it was at its peak, it seemed like the world came down on us to be the focal point of such a remark. It is just so sad because no one pays attention to who actually won the game."

Coach Stringer says the support of the American people has helped her team during this difficult time, but Imus's remarks have affected more than just the players on the team. "Not only did he steal our dreams, he's hurt us tremendously, hurt our character," she says. "[He also hurt] Rutgers University, our state and certainly all [of us] who have been associated [with the comment], as well as our future recruiting."
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Published on April 12, 2007

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