Derek Jeter Created an Important Website for Pro Athletes
Since retiring from baseball in 2014, Derek Jeter has been a busy and successful man. He currently owns a team which undoubtedly takes up a lot of his time. But there was one endeavor immediately following his career that meant a lot not just to Jeter, but the sports world in general. Let’s take a closer look at the important website Jeter created for pro athletes: The Player’s Tribune.
Derek Jeter’s career overview
Jeter’s baseball career began in 1995 when the New York Yankees called him up for a cup of coffee according to Baseball Reference. He was underwhelming and didn’t receive enough at-bats to qualify for a rookie season.
The team called him up in spring training the next year to serve as the backup to veteran shortstop Tony Fernandez. A preseason injury to Fernandez inserted Jeter in the starting lineup and he never looked back.
Jeter became known for his clutch playoff performances over the years. He also had what seemed like a supernatural ability to perform in the right spot at the right time. In 2000, against the Oakland Athletics in the divisional round of the playoffs, an errant relay throw to home plate looked like it was going to miss catcher Jorge Posada.
Sprinting out of position, Jeter retrieved the throw and flipped it to Posada, who tagged baserunner Jeremy Giambi a split-second before he crossed home plate. That’s the type of play that represented Jeter’s career-best.
From there, Jeter went on to collect over 3,000 hits and was part of Yankee championship teams in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009. The Yankees also named him their captain — an honorific bestowed only on a handful of players throughout the franchise’s illustrious history. He was also recently selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The website Derek Jeter created for athletes
Following his playing career, Jeter has clearly wanted to continue being an impactful figure for athletes. In this vein, he was one of the founders of The Player’s Tribute.
This is a website that allows players to pen essays telling their stories. It’s become known for providing fans with intimacy and insight into their favorite players.
According to CNN, Jeter said The Player’s Tribune was a way to make the fans a part of the action:
“I hoped that we could give athletes a trusted place where they could be themselves and tell their stories in their own words. But I think what surprised me, and what surprised everybody on the staff was how deep athletes were willing to go. I don’t think we wanted to change the public’s perception of athletes, we just wanted to bring fans a little bit closer to them in an authentic way. We wanted you to feel like you’re a fly on the wall.”
Eventually, Jeter entered into a partnership with Minute Media to essentially operate the site. Jeter later became an owner of the Miami Marlins. He’s currently in the midst of a rebuilding process there as the team attempts to build the franchise from the ground up.
How the Player’s Tribune changed the conversation for athletes
The instantaneous nature of social media has changed the sports media landscape. In the past, athletes who wanted to tell their story needed to find a trusted media outlet with a writer they respected. They were then at the mercy of the writer in question, hopeful that they portrayed them fairly and accurately.
The Player’s Tribune gave those same players a voice. It’s an outlet that enables them to tell their own stories in their own words. There’s no filter on the content. It’s a source that players consistently trust. For example, when Kevin Durant made his decision to sign with the Golden State Warriors, he did so under The Player’s Tribune banner. Kobe Bryant announced his retirement via the site.
Jeter’s legacy, first and foremost, will always be as the shortstop for the New York Yankees who won several championships. But The Player’s Tribune is an important part of his legacy as well. In an increasingly connected era, it’s done even more to bridge the gap between players and fans. It’s added some transparency to the sports world.