Jason Collins

Adam Silver says Jason Collins not on NBA team for basketball reasons


Jason Collins, 12-year NBA veteran, came out as an openly gay man last April. At the time he was a free agent clearly near the end of his career but one expected to be in play for a handful of spots on NBA rosters for this season.

Now as we are past the NBA season’s midpoint, Collins is not on an NBA team. He didn’t get a contract offer this summer, didn’t get a training camp invite, hasn’t landed a 10-day contract with a team.

Is his coming out part of the reason for that? The topic came up again in the wake of NFL-bound Michael Sam coming out as gay prior to the draft. Collins spoke with Sam about what to expect in terms of reaction.

Newly seated NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was asked by Darren Rovell of ESPN if Collins coming out is the reason for his not having a contract.

“In terms of Jason not getting signed, based on everything I’ve been told, it’s a basketball decision,” Silver said. “Our teams want to win and Jason waited until the very tail end of his career to make that announcement….

“We want teams to make the best possible decisions from [a] basketball standpoint,” Silver said. “Ultimately that’s what it’s all about. I’m sure Jason was never looking for a special favor or a special slot because he had publicly come out.”

No doubt Collins had a limited market at this point. He’s a good defender in the post, however the league is going small. He’s good on the boards, can set a big pick, but he averaged a point a game last season at age 35.

There are teams that should have considered Collins for a 10-day contract at least this season. Whether those teams decided based on basketball reasons or not, we may never know. To think that he wasn’t discussed — and how his sexuality and standing would play both in the locker room and in terms of marketing in that market (some are better fits than others) — is foolish. To think there were people lobbying against him in those organizations also is naïve.

I’d like to think that the decisions about Collins were all basketball, but I’m too cynical to believe it completely.

That said Collins pushed the conversation along — in NBA locker rooms, in NBA front offices, among fans on Web sites like this and even into American living rooms the debate about gay athletes and how they would fit and should be accepted were aired openly. That was a big step. Sam is taking the next big one.

Report: Some Hawks executives doubt Danny Ferry’s contrition

Danny Ferry, Mike Budenholzer
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Since his racist comments about Luol Deng, Danny Ferry has mostly avoided the public eye.

He apologized through a couple statements released around the beginning of his leave of absence. He met with black community leaders. He claimed “full responsibility.”

A cadre of NBA people vouched for him. A law firm the Hawks hired to investigate themselves essentially cleared of him of being motivated by racial bias.

But there’s another side.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Ferry’s efforts at contrition sometimes fell short to some inside the organization. Several Hawks executives were at times put off by Ferry’s behavior during a compulsory two-day sensitive training session, especially since they considered his actions triggered the assembly in the first place. He came across as inattentive and dismissive of the exercise, some said, and fiddled with his phone quite a bit. Ferry contends he was taking notes on the meeting.

“It was awkward for everyone because I had not seen or been around Hawks employees for three months,” Ferry told ESPN this summer about the sensitivity training. “I took the seminar seriously, participated in the role-play exercises and certainly learned from the two-day session.”

the Hawks satisfied Ferry on June 22 by releasing both the written Taylor report and a flowery press release in which Hawks CEO Koonin was quoted saying, among other things, that “Danny Ferry is not a racist.” Some Hawks executives grumbled that the team overreached in exonerating Ferry, but doing so — not to mention paying Ferry significantly more than the $9 million he was owed on his “golden ticket” deal — was the cost of moving on.

I don’t know whether Ferry has shown the proper level of contrition, whether he was playing on his phone or taking notes.

But I know what he said:

“He’s a good guy overall, but he’s got some African in him, and I don’t say that in a bad way other than he’s a guy that may be making side deals behind you, if that makes sense. He has a storefront out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you.”

He was not reading directly from a scouting report. He did not stop when his paraphrasing repeated a racist trope.

That’s a problem.

I don’t think Ferry intended to say something racist – but he did.

It’s a fixable issue, though. Through introspection and a desire to change, he can learn from this mistake. Maybe he already has.

That some around him don’t think he took that process seriously is worth noting. They might be off base, and Ferry obviously disagrees with their perception. But this is a two-sided story despite the common narrative focusing on Ferry’s redemption.

It’ll be up to any potential future employers to sort through the discrepancies.

Gilbert Arenas: Caron Butler’s version of gun incident ‘false’

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Caron Butler recently detailed the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton gun incident.

In a since-deleted – but screenshot-captured – Instagram post, Arenas gives his description:

The biggest differences between Butler’s and Arenas’ versions:

1. Arenas claims he wasn’t the one who owed Crittenton money, that the feud escalated over Arenas prematurely showing his hand during a card game.

2. Arenas says he told Crittenton to pick a gun to shoot Arenas with – not to pick a gun he’d get shot by Arenas with.