SBD/Issue 124/Franchises

WNBA Shock President Hopes Jones Can Build Franchise's Intrigue

Swetoha (l) Hopes Jones (c) Can Help
The Shock Both On And Off The Court

WNBA Tulsa Shock President Steve Swetoha stressed the team’s decision to sign former Olympic sprinter Marion Jones was driven by her potential ability to help the franchise on the court, but he also expressed optimism that Jones can help the franchise off the court as well. The Shock are in their first year in Tulsa after having relocated from Detroit, and Swetoha felt the signing of an athlete as well known as Jones will help get people “intrigued” about the team and will bring credibility to the franchise. Swetoha: “There’s going to be a lot of curiosity that we anticipate.” He said the reaction among fans could be, "Wow, I want to now decide if I want to go out and check her out, to see if she has the athleticism everyone talked out about when we signed her.” Jones won five medals in the '00 Sydney Games before being stripped of them after admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs and she was a starter on the '94 North Carolina women's basketball team that won the national championship. Swetoha acknowledged the franchise has not yet made a decision on how it will market the team entering the season, but noted that he was hopeful to get Jones involved in marketing and sales opportunities. “She could be a good resource for us,” he said. Jones certainly has a checkered past after admitting to the PED use and serving time in prison for lying to prosecutors. But Swetoha said the initial reaction to the signing of Jones has been “extremely, extremely positive,” as the team has received “many positive responses, whether it be on Twitter, or Facebook.” Swetoha: “We recognize what she has done. People make mistakes, and you’re held accountable for those mistakes. … There’s always going to be naysayers out there. But it‘s how you utilize that and make it positive.”

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