The Lakers didn’t have the integrity to say that someone was lying. They didn’t want to offend their players, particularly Jordan Clarkson who can take his talents elsewhere this summer and sign an offer sheet with another organization. A lot of teams want a 15 point a game, 43% shooter who plays 32 minutes and by all accounts has a serious work ethic.
The Lakers didn’t want to offend Alexis Jones. She is the activist who put Clarkson and Nick Young’s face on social media, accused them of shaming her and her mother with their vulgar language that crossed into the world of sexual harassment.
For the Lakers to call Ms. Jones a liar the way others have blatantly suggested would not sit well with the thousands of women who are Lakers fans and who look upon Lakers president Jeanie Buss as a role model.
So the Lakers punted and it wasn’t even fourth down. They hid behind the different interpretations card.
No brain surgery needed here. Someone is not telling the truth. Either Ms. Jones exaggerated an encounter for her own benefit of greasing the wheel in negotiations she is having with the league. Or she and her mother were the victims. The John Black apology yesterday seemed to hint that the Lakers found some merit to her story. She had some compelling details about her mother sobbing and Clarkson and Young laughing until they found her filming them. Of course, she didn’t know they were Lakers at the time.
Did John Black, the Lakers long time p.r. guru, jump the gun too soon before hearing all the evidence, fearing the social media backlash if they waited too long to respond. That would be Lakers like, so invested in p.r. and reaction of their season ticket holders.
“We’ve looked into the situation and spoken to Alexis Jones as well as Nick Young and Jordan Clarkson. Based on these conversations, our conclusion is that there are different interpretations of what happened. We support Nick and Jordan and believe what they told us about the incident and their actions. We also are supportive of Alexis and her feelings about what happened, about women’s rights and of the fine work Alexis is doing with her organization.”
That’s as politically correct as you are going to get and frankly the math doesn’t add up. If they do believe Nick Young and Jordan Clarkson are telling the truth then that means Alexis Jones fabricated a story and then peddled it on social media for sympathy. By not coming out strongly on the side of their players who they say they believe, the Lakers are, unintentionally, creating this murky muddy water where there is his story, her story and the truth.
The Lakers made no progress on uncovering the truth and then revealing it.
There is no middle ground here. Either Young and Clarkson did what they were accused of, or they didn’t. Either Alexis made it up or she didn’t. Her activism has no bearing on the details of the incident and the behavior at hand, except to make her appear blameless. But without saying it, the Lakers are indeed blaming her and then softening the blow with a backhanded compliment.
Playing both sides against the middle only encourages the very thing that Alexis Jones is fighting for: equal treatment.
Be a grown up. Say she lied if that’s what your investigation led you to believe. Don’t hide.
photo via llanaba