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SBD/October 24, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies
Execs Say Media Attention Around Jason Collins, Not His Sexuality, Why He Isn't Signed
Published October 24, 2013
WOULD IT BE THAT BIG A DEAL? FS1’s Trevor Pryce said, “If it’s a Miami, where you have LeBron James and you have this really solid ownership group and solid core players, if it’s L.A. or these big metropolitan cities, this is a two-day thing. If it is Cleveland or Milwaukee or any of these small market teams, it will drag on for a while because there’s not much else to talk about." The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay said, “Anywhere he goes in the NBA this is, at maximum, a week or two long story." He added, "I also feel the kind of attention it might get is going to be incredibly positive. You're never going to get more good press.” FS1’s Michael Kosta: “GMs and owners are afraid of the unknown, but why look at the negative side when there could be a positive side?” (“Crowd Goes Wild,” FS1, 10/23). CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman said, "If it was in the NFL or in baseball, I think I’d be more skeptical that people would buy in because I think the NBA is about as tolerant a place in sports, in a locker room, that you're going to get." However, he added the "publicity angle of it, you have to deal with every week, every day, when you get into a new city. He’s the novelty story” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 10/23).
GOOD FOR HIM, BUT NOT WORTH THE HEADACHE: SLATE's William Saletan wrote that line of reasoning is "what we hear every time an athlete challenges a social barrier." Saletan: "The team executives who shy away are good people. They believe in fairness and progress. They just don’t want the headache." He added, "If Collins’ on-court value is being weighed against social factors such as 'media attention,' teammates being 'asked about' him, and the risk that a controversy will 'blow up,' then that’s not just a basketball decision. That’s a decision to duck the perils of breaking a cultural barrier. It’s a decision to let other people’s discomfort with a certain kind of athlete dictate whether that athlete gets a job" (SLATE.com, 10/23).