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Why I believe signing Jason Collins is NOT a 'marketing move'

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Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

When people ask the NetsDaily staff to describe the site we often, in our own way, summarize it as news aggregation source where we pull in all, and we mean all, news related to the Brooklyn Nets, and allow for the community to use it as a compilation of sorts where they can discuss all things Nets in our threads. That's generally how we describe it. It's not often we editorialize or write opinion pieces, to which we hold our readers to the same standards. You know the guideline rules, if you have an opinion, back it up, don't just pull the pin and walk away.

With that said, I did want to take a chance to pose my opinion on what a possible Jason Collins is all about. And with this, I won't simply pull the pin and walk away, I'll do my best at explaining why, and hope that if you disagree you'll do the same in the thread below. Here goes...

I can't say I'm stunned by the reaction brought forth by the rumor that the Nets are looking to sign Jason Collins to a 10-day contract. Brooklyn continues to live well-below expectations, with a fan base that rivals its cross-river brethren in what can be described as "passion-based, shoot from the hip-y, post-first, consume later" realtime reaction, and in the new-Brooklyn era where $200 million payrolls are the new norm, everyone expects that money can be better spent on someone, anyone other than a 35-year old who has been out of the league, in reality, for the entire season, and in theory for some time now. I understand where you're coming from.

The instant reaction to the news -- from I suppose we can say a majority of fans -- is that this move is nothing more than a marketing ploy to bring on the NBA's first openly gay basketball player to win back-page headlines and not necessarily to help the team win basketball games. I understand your passion, I see your point, but I completely disagree with you.

More on Jason Collins

Nets GM Billy King was asked about Collins’ workout and the rumored signing by Nets media to which he responded, "We’re going to bring in a basketball player," he said. "It’s not about marketing or anything like that. If we’re bringing somebody in, we’re bringing them in because we feel they can help our basketball team."

There's the Nets official statement, but I'll buy into your skepticism.

Another counter argument to this being a marketing move is that there "has to be better players out there than Jason Collins." I hear you, but does there "have to be"? In asking for other names, most have been offering up Ivan Johnson, Tyrus Thomas, Drew Gooden and Willie Reed, all of whom are out of the NBA at the moment. So, if you'd like to argue who would be a better fit between Collins and his fellow job-seeking bigs, my counter argument is, "really?"

We're also hearing that the media distraction isn't worth the signing, to which I would say, the Nets media has done a fantastic job in covering the story thus far. They asked Billy King about distractions, about marketing, and he gave his statement. They asked the players and Jason Kidd about possible distractions, and they answered. Hats off to the traveling media and the blogs that cover this team for their coverage. Of course there is the Mitch Lawrence piece that is designed to get clicks and eyeballs, nothing more, in deflecting ones opinion as "I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin."

[Note: My favorite part of the Lawrence piece is when he accuses the Nets of possibly using Collins to "get clicks" when he himself (or his editor) customizes the URL to game the search in order to, yes, get clicks.]

The Nets media has done its job in covering this story, and if and when Collins does sign with the Nets, we'll write our pieces, mention, as we should, that he's the first openly gay player in the NBA and then leave it at that. Any outside media looking for clicks and insertion into the story, well, they're on their own.

I can also assure you that we won't be asking any moronic questions as this reader poses. To which I'll note, there is a reason why the Nets media does what they do and are employed to cover this team and that some people are not a part of the media, nor will they ever be. This line of thinking is absurd and simple.


My final point, and probably the most important point I can make, for this not being a marketing move is simple. Collins is an intelligent man, a Stanford graduate, as you all know. He reasoned through his decision to make his sexuality public knowledge, and made a decision so life altering that we can only pretend to know what it must have been like for him.

Collins is far too smart to have this be anything but a basketball decision. And to say that the Nets hold all the cards here is absurd. This is as much Collins' decision as it is Brooklyn's. He knows what he faces by coming back to the NBA. He is well aware of what comes with him entering a locker room as an openly gay man, and what the "uncomfortable" fans and click-able media will have to say about it.

Those, like Lawrence, who assume that the Nets are doing this to win the back pages are underestimating Collins, the person, and are simply seeing him as click-bait. Is he gay? Yes. Will his signing be historic? Yes. Will it be a distraction? No. Well, not unless you continue to make it one.

Can't we believe, for once without being so cynical, that Collins just wants to play basketball again and that the Nets actually want him, for basketball reasons? I'm alright with doing so, and with giving Collins a 10-day contract to be the 14th player on a team that needs a center. In fact, it's my preferred modus operandi to look past baseless accusations.

That said, I would love to hear your thoughts in the thread below. Just, please, don't pull the pin and run.