by Ryne Nelson

At first, I didn’t believe Baron Davis gained weight to become a spokesperson for Jenny Craig—I saw it as another sorry Clippers excuse for their continual tankage.

Now, I’m not so sure…

If a false accusation is made in a three-sentence sidebar on a paper site, a big organization brushes it off. The rumor might make noise on a blog or two, but the company takes the high road and forgets about the untrue speculation.

But now, Jenny is getting its hands dirty in someone else’s spit. They’re defending rumor via a superfluously long press release, which is never a good sign. By addressing the claims, they’re providing some legitimacy to rumor. Here, detect the defensiveness:

Jenny Craig is proud to be working with Baron Davis and we celebrate his success since starting the program this past summer. When he became a Jenny Craig client, Baron’s goal was to better prepare himself for the 2008-2009 basketball season – something he has achieved and continues to maintain. Jenny Craig has never – and will never – encourage someone to gain weight for the purposes of then going on the program. This would be irresponsible and contrary to the brand’s comprehensive food/body/mind approach to safe, effective weight management that has helped millions of people worldwide learn how to create a healthy relationship with food, build an active lifestyle and develop a balanced approach to living for more than 25 years.

Davis adds, “In no way did I gain weight on purpose. I became a spokesperson for Jenny Craig in the off-season to incorporate something new into my training regimen and to inspire others to join me in getting healthier. I have a body type that lends itself to gaining weight easily, so after I started Jenny Craig I lost about 20 pounds before the season and came in to camp in the best shape of my career.”

Outside of the much-needed, mid-week comedic relief, this statement was a waist of time.

I find it hard to believe Baron endorses Jenny because he truly believes in the product. Like many famous spokespeople, he uses the product sparingly, if at all. But when you go out of your way to address rumors, you look like you’re on the defense. Jenny Craig would have been better off staying mum.

I’m actually much closer to believing the rumor now, but it still seems like a dumb Clipper excuse for a poor start. So if you’re going to shake your head at Baron Davis, do it because no 29-year-old multi-millionaire NBA All-Star should have to resort to losing weight with Jenny Craig.