WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Jason Reid of the Washington Post came under minor scrutiny in his latest column, for suggesting John Wall’s recent revelation of his tattoos could be a sign of a player no longer concerned with his national marketability, and as a result, a guy who’s undeserving of a max contract.
Here’s what caused a stir:
“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.”
The reason this is even an issue, or eyebrow raising for that matter, is the Wizards currently being in talks with Wall regarding a contract extension this summer, before the season begins, to preempt any dicey disputes down the road, specifically after this season, when Wall is slated to become a restricted free agent.
In the column, Reid very fairly cited Gilbert Arenas’ spectacularly failed 6-year, $111-million contract, which Washington awarded him after three consecutive All-Star appearances, an achievement Wall has yet to produce. You don’t need to be reminded how that one worked out.
And yet readers took most exception with Reid referencing Wall’s tattoos.
“This isn’t about the merits of body art. Wall, 22, has the right to put whatever he wants on his body, and one of the advantages of youth is that you can reinvent yourself. As the face of the Wizards’ franchise, however, Wall is going to be scrutinized more than the last man on the bench. He’s always under the microscope.
“Judging by his new look, Wall, who declined an interview request Monday through the team, might not be as concerned as he once was about appealing to a wide audience. In interviews before the 2010 draft, Wall made a point of presenting the type of clean-cut image teams want from college players to whom they’re considering giving millions of dollars.”
Reid called into the Junkies on Tuesday to clarify some of his comments.
“Let’s state some facts here,” Reid said on 106.7 The Fan. “If you are a rare talent, as people were saying last night in criticism of me, then if you’re a rare talent, at some point in those first two years, you’re going to make an All-Star game. Kyrie Irving made the All-Star game as a second-year player. Rookies make the All-Star game. It’s not unheard of in the NBA.”
“My point is this, you’re talking about a guy, the Wizards have no choice,” he continued. “If they don’t give him this money, he and the agent will get miffed and then you spiral down a very poor road if you’re the Wizards of a situation you want to stay out of.”
“I’m not saying the kid doesn’t work hard, but again, when you say you deserve a max deal, when you present one thing and then right before you get paid, you let your guard down and you do another – even though you’re 22 and you’re entitled to change your mind – it raises questions to me about is this a guy paid?”
In summation, it’s not about what Wall does off the court, which includes going back on his word about maintaining a clean image. “What it’s about is achievement” as Reid said. Everything else is just fair skepticism.