Not your average Monday

WNBA:

My Minnesota preview on fullcourt.com…..the Lynx lose Mama Taj, but still will be tough to beat.

Chiney Ogwumike blogs from Nigeria.

The Philipines will get their first Junior WNBA program next year.

USA Basketball:

Coaches have been announced for the U19 World Championship and World University Games: Matt Corkery, Bobbie Kelsey and Matilda Mossman. Trials will be May 16-19.

NBA player comes out:

Jason Collins has become the first active NBA player to be openly gay, following a Sports Illustrated piece today.

Reactions have varied in the media, but he’s garnered some very prominent public support.

No, it’s not about the WNBA, nor will it affect the league.

Jason Collins is incredibly courageous.

5 COMMENTS

  1. You're right. It isn't about the W and it won't impact the league. Collins has been an end of the bench guy for the last five years. He isn't on a NBA roster going forward. Free agent. This is another over the hill baller coming out at the tail end of his career. It is what it is. The support from other NBA players and the league is hardly surprising. It's the company line and anyone who would have gone on the record as disagreeing would have been slapped down. Political correctness pure and simple.

    As we all know, many of the big names in the W are out lesbians. The Griner situation has just publicly validated it. The promotion of Griner's sexuality is as close as the W has ever come to stepping up to the truth. Long time lesbian loyalist W fans should be thrilled with where things are going. The W lesbian ballers and their fans now have center stage. I personally think it was a big mistake to fixate on Griner's sexuality instead of her abilities, but given Richie's marketing background and basic lack of appreciation of the game of basketball it's not too surprising. She's looking for new W fans and I guess she thinks this approach will work.

    With W attendance at an all time low last year it looks to me like Richie played the only card thought she had. It's going to be really interesting to see how things work out. This is going to be a big year for the W.

  2. Gotta disagree with you on that one. I had already read the Full Court piece. The author is missing the point of what is going on.

    Richie is a professional brand marketer not a basketball person like the prior two commissioners. She's trying to rebrand the W as progressive without overtly playing the lesbian card. If you go back and read her public statements over the past two years it is clear. There is no way that Griner comes out publicly on multiple media platforms without coordination / sign off by the league via ESPN. It's actually a pretty cool strategy as Richie can strongly support lesbians via the ESPN media proxy and still not take a public position on their loyal LGBT fans. Richie is smart enough to know that a strong lesbian marketing push would just relegate the W to niche sport status, which isn't where Stern or Richie want it to be. So she's come as close as she can without actually doing it.

    She and her people worked with ESPN to kick off the relaunch with the Griner "out piece" and the "bullying" piece which are pure progressive / LGBT positioning plays. I don't have a problem with the W and ESPN coordinating the relaunch given ESPN's substantial investment in the W going forward. That's just marketing. I just don't see how the approach helps the league sell more tickets and grow the fan base.

    Richie is a smart lady but we're talking about someone who acknowledged never attending a W game until she became commissioner and never having participated in a team sport. She doesn't know anything about the game.

    It looks to me like there are a few things that she doesn't understand. First, many longtime lesbian W fans are pissed and have been for years due to the lack of public acknowledgement of their support of the league. Without lesbian fans there would be no W. They're never going to be happy until the W itself "comes out" about what they have done for the league.

    Secondly, her target market for growing the W is unclear at best and non-existent at worst. They're getting plenty of free publicity in the non-basketball media like Wesley Morris' recent article about "the quiet queering of professional sports" and your link today to that piece at Advocate.com. That's all fine and good, but how does it grow the league? Let me know if you figure it out. I guess this time next year we'll be smarter on the subject.

  3. I'm not comfortable as you – and many others – are second-guessing someone and/or arm chair coaching. I'm also not as confident as you that it's that easy to coordinate conspiracies. Too many conspiracy theories today.

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