While the Mystics management continues to drop teasers about next Tuesday's big name free agent signing, the Tulsa Shock this week pulled out all the stops to announce a signing of their own -- the signing of Marion Jones to a training camp contract.
Yes, that Marion Jones. The convicted felon who was stripped of her Olympic gold medals, and whose conduct caused her teammates to be stripped of theirs as well. That Marion Jones. Who, yes, played basketball in college, helping lead the Tar Heels to a National Championship in 1994, but who hasn't played competitive basketball in about a dozen years.
Marion Jones has served her time, and is certainly entitled to a job and to a second chance. We believe that. We hope that she has turned a new page in her life and hope she has a bright future ahead of her. As for whether she truly has the skills to play in the WNBA (particularly after all this time away from the court), well, that's Tulsa's call.
We're not upset that Tulsa is giving Marion
an opportunity to prove herself, but we admit to being a bit troubled by all the hoopla given to her signing a WNBA training camp contract. Not only did Tulsa hold a press conference to announce Marion's
signing, but WNBA President Donna Orender
was on hand for the occasion and proclaimed that Marion Jones
"clearly a global figure, who people are interested in. Having somebody like that associated with our league is positive.”
Really? Just look at the title of the New York Times
article in which the above quote appeared: "Jones
, Disgraced Sprinter, is Joining the WNBA." What Marion Jones
did was no little thing. Ask her Olympic teammates. We can only guess that by "positive," Donna O
meant that the signing would bring a flood of media attention to the League (which it did)
and that there's no such thing as bad publicity. Well . . . that's debatable.
Since Donna O
is making the rounds of free agent signings, we hope to see her at the Verizon Center on Tuesday for the Mystics' big announcement. By all accounts, that
be a positive one . . . and it won't be just a training camp contract, either. According to an on-line article
posted Friday by Milton Kent
(formerly of the Baltimore Sun
is believed poised to sign with the Washington Mystics."
That information certainly squares with all the message board chatter about who the Mystics are about to sign. In fact, yesterday, the Mystics' own web site had a reminder of the upcoming "Big Announcement," accompanied by a blacked out picture of the "mystery free agent" whose silhouette looked just like Katie.
In fact, the graphic looked exactly like a blacked out mirror image of this actual photo of Katie here
(and a big shout out to message board poster "speedracer" for the eagle eye on this one). It seems as though someone in the Mystics' front office had fun this week with Photoshop! The Mystics' image was taken down yesterday evening, so if you missed it, sorry!
If it's not Katie, well, the Mystics have done a great job of disinformation, and the laugh will be on us! But if it is Katie, then Washington will be getting a player who earned her Olympic gold medals fair and square. Donna O . . . hope to see you on Tuesday. Come celebrate with us.
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Monday Morning Update:
The Mystics have announced that Tuesday's 1:00 PM press conference will be streamed live on line. Also, they've layered a screen
over their home page containing the blacked out photo they had up last week. Compare it with the real photo of Katie here
, and see what you