Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

This, from the Washington Post's Jason Reid, is not so much a column as it is an extended pageant answer. It's as if someone had just asked: "Miss DC, do you think the Washington Wizards should give John Wall a max contract in light of his recently revealed predilection for body art?" And Miss DC had replied:

Posing shirtless recently for an Instagram photo, Wall revealed several tattoos. Wall’s interest in body art is surprising, considering he previously said he did not have tattoos because of concerns over his image for marketing reasons. Many NBA players do have tattoos, and Wall isn’t breaking new ground in sharing his ink with fans through social media.

But not every player flip-flops on a topic in such a public way. Factor in that Wall is expected to receive a huge payday from the Wizards next month, and the timing of his tattoo revelation raises questions about his decision making. For a franchise with a history of backing the wrong players, that’s food for thought.


Reid's argument: The Wizards should be wary of giving John Wall a max contract not because he, like many NBA players, now has tattoos—which feature a tribute to his mom and his hometown and in all are almost comically innocent—but because he'd previously said that he wasn't really interested in tattoos. I mean, it's hard to see how that affects Wall's ability to play basketball, but I suppose if you are uncomfortable with the fact that people sometimes change their mind about things, then, yeah, I guess that's "food for thought." Anyway, thank you for your response, Miss D—

Tattoos didn’t stop Miami’s LeBron James from becoming the league’s top corporate pitchman. Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant has intricate body art and makes millions in endorsements. Chicago’s Derrick Rose is “all tatted up,” as the kids say these days, and he rakes in big bucks from his corporate partners. What’s the difference between those guys and Wall? Well, everything.

Oh, you're still going. OK, wow. Uh, contin—

Durant, who cultivated a broad-appeal persona, did throw fans a change-up a couple of summers ago by unveiling his “business tattoos,” which cannot be seen when he’s wearing his jersey. Before he shook it up, though, Durant already had established himself as a potential great. Even if Durant had tattoos all over his face, the Thunder would have offered him a maximum extension. He’s that good.


It's almost as if *gasp* the value of his contract was determined by his abilities and not by the fact that he has a lot of tattoos hidden underneath his jersey. Why shouldn't the same be true for Wall?

Like Durant, Wall has strategically put tattoos on parts of his body that might not be visible when he’s in uniform.


Right. So John Wall's tattoos, which are innocent and modestly placed, are really no different from the ones that cover Kevin Durant's back and chest. Again, why should Wall's tattoos be factored into his value as a player if Durant's are not? Oh, it looks like you want to answer that.

But if he wanted to keep the ink to himself, why the photos on Instagram?

[Blank stare] Have you, uh, seen Kevin Durant's Instagram account? [More blank staring]. I think we're done here, please return to your—


So if you still have something to prove on the court, why give your employer reason to be unsure of who you are off it?


Someone please take away the microphone now.

[Washington Post]


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