CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Culture

Derek Jeter's new site promises unfiltered athletes

Fans apparently want to hear their athletes without the interference of journalists, and the now retired Yankee is giving it to them with a site called the Players' Tribune.

derek-jeter-the-players-tribune.jpg
Derek Jeter's debut post-Yankees venture promises to deliver the absolute opposite of all the interviews he gave while a player. The Players' Tribune / Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk

When New York anoints someone a saint, you can be fairly sure that they're the sort of saint who enjoys money.

And so it is that Derek Jeter, godly essence just retired from the New York Yankees, is already launching a new enterprise.

It's called the Players' Tribune.

If that sounds like an old-fashioned local newspaper to you, it's possibly deliberate. For this site exists to deliver athletes' unfiltered views to the fans.

There must have been many who were desperate, in times gone by, to hear the unfiltered views of the likes of Metta World Peace and Michael Vick. Now, Jeter promises to make that happen.

He explained on the site: "I do think fans deserve more than 'no comments' or 'I don't knows.' Those simple answers have always stemmed from a genuine concern that any statement, any opinion or detail, might be distorted."

An athlete's life is, indeed, troubled. There is so much pressure to be everything that the image world wants you to be. Jeter has done a fine job of navigating that world by never saying much at all, but always looking dignified.

His real competition here, though, is surely Twitter. Athletes have, for some time now, offered their unfettered thoughts and spelling to hordes of fans in an instant.

For example, when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell two weeks ago was offering his entirely fettered and lawyerly thoughts in a press conference, players were immediately on hand to rebut on Twitter. Who could forget now-retired Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings receiver Sidney Rice huffing: "Boo this man"?

Is this the sort of fare we can hope for from the Players Tribune?

Jeter implies that journalists distort everything. He said on this site: "We all have emotions. We just need to be sure our thoughts will come across the way we intend."

Lately, athletes haven't always masked their intentions all that well. There are signs that too many are so pampered that they believe they can do anything. As former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said in the wake of the Ray Rice domestic violence charges: "There's some things you can cover up and there's some things you can't."

This would be the same Ray Lewis who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice charges during a (still unsolved) murder investigation.

How unfiltered can and will the Players' Tribune really be? Will athletes be able to post directly without supervision?

All Jeter will reveal for now is: "Over the next few months, we'll be introducing a strong core of athlete editors and contributors who will shape the site into an online community filled with first-person stories and behind-the-scenes content."

That sounds like marketing to me. But Jeter insists that this will be a site where "we want to have a way to connect directly with our fans, with no filter."

I wonder how unfiltered that intention really is.