The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Jones’ selection not redemption

By Marley Malenfant/reporter

After serving six months in a federal prison in Texas for lying to federal investigators about her use of performance-enhancing drugs, Marion Jones is back in the game.

The former Olympic champion is not returning as a sprinter but as a professional basketball player in the WNBA.

Jones hasn’t played organized basketball in 13 years since she played at the University of North Carolina. There’s no telling what shape Jones is in or why she’s competing in a financially struggling league.

After her 2008 sentencing, Jones forfeited the medals and prize money she received in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Jones will make only the league minimum of $35,000 in her first season, a far reach from the millions she earned as a sprinter.

Jones will play for the Tulsa Shock, a team that may have signed her just for publicity. Sources around the league have claimed that Jones appears to be in great shape, but at age 34 and with players becoming bigger, faster and stronger, how much can Jones contribute?

Perhaps Jones wants to be in the limelight again as an athlete, or maybe this is a way for her to escape.

“It’s nice to be pursuing something I am passionate about and is challenging to me,” Jones said to ESPN.com.

It will be interesting to see how Jones reacts to the media and fans throughout the season. Unlike in track and field, Jones will be seen every night on the court.

Some of her teammates may get annoyed with Jones getting more press time because of her past instead of what she does on the court.

If Jones performs well, she can positively reshape her image and perhaps motivate athletes and non-athletes to make better decisions.

However, Jones will have to do more than play pro basketball to show the world she’s found redemption. Jones can also get back in the media and use her spotlight to put behind her steroid use and change the subject.

Most organizations wouldn’t want anything to do with Jones, but the WNBA needs the publicity. This is Jones’ chance to remove the stigma of second-chance athletes.

The ball is in your court, Jones.

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