Yardbarker Nav Bar

Friday, August 8, 2014

Derek Jeter's cleats are self-aggrandizing and obnoxious

Photo courtesy of http://twitter.com/nick_pants
Imagine a professional athlete in a team sport putting his *individual* accomplishments on his cleats for all to read, topped with the shoes he is wearing calling himself "The King of NY." You would think that was pretty tacky, right? Especially when the star in question plays for a team that doesn't even put players' names on the back of the uniforms. But when the athlete in question is Derek Jeter, some Yankee fans contort themselves to defend this self-aggrandizing stunt, even though the cleats go against everything they purport to admire about the Captain -- his team-first attitude, humility, and desire to avoid individual attention.

But as I have learned over the years, if you ever want to get people really angry, especially Yankees fans, just say something, anything critical about Jeter. That is something I experienced on Facebook yesterday after my friend Jeff asked for my opinion about Jeter's new cleats. I missed seeing them this week, but when I saw the New York Post story on them, I was appalled. Aside from him calling himself "The King of NY," which is self-aggrandizing enough (Is this how he is going to outdo Joe DiMaggio when he is introduced during future Old-Timers' Days? Is there a Bob Sheppard audio in the vaults somewhere that will solemnly declare, "Number 2, Derek Jeter, the King of NY"?) there is also the way "MVP" is in big bold letters, with "All-Star" in tiny letters above it. (Jeter, who some of his acolytes like to think is the greatest player of all time, never won an American League MVP.) The five championships are in tiny type, too, with things like the Silver Slugger awards getting much more space on his shoes.

There are also not one but two mentions of those five Gold Gloves Jeter won, even though the last few were hardly deserved. There is also not just "respect" spelled with a 2, but "captain." Good grief. In short, these cleats are a hot mess. 

Put it this way -- Ray Lewis had his own individual accomplishments on the cleats he wore in his last Super Bowl, but he had the words on the bottom of the shoes, not, like Jeter's, on the cleats themselves for everybody else to read. Nor did Lewis call himself "The King of Baltimore" or any such nonsense; instead, the visible part of the shoe had Psalms 91. (Hat tip to Baseball Think Factory for the info on Lewis' cleats.) When Ray Lewis, who regularly wore a fur coat, has more subtle shoes than Derek Jeter, you know Jete's cleats are way too much.

It's funny. I have been hearing for at least the last decade or so about how Jeter was all about humility, the team, and putting the Yankees -- and winning -- first over individual accomplishments. Wasn't that exactly how A-Rod was found wanting? That he was the me-first kind of guy who only cared about individual stuff? Yet here, Jeter does something that is the opposite of his image, and not for the first time, and some Yankee fans, instead of wondering what the heck the captain is thinking, direct their vitriol at folks like me for simply pointing out that Jeter looks like a tool wearing this. 

Jeter is supposed to be a role model for children, but do the parents of America want their kids to promote themselves like that? Really? This sort of braggadocio, which is also why I find the Jeter Nike commercial so obnoxious, seems antithetical to his image. 

And really, at what point is the Jeter worship enough? When does it end? I have said it before and I will say it again. It is not enough to call him a first-ballot HOFer and a top five Yankee, as I do on my friend Sully Baseball's show (yes, I explain how I give Jeter the nod over DiMaggio.) We also have to think that Jeter is the greatest person to ever play the game, the most humble and wonderful. And when we are done with the Manchurian Candidate-esque accolades, we are not allowed to ever notice when he does me-first things that are the opposite of what he is supposed to be about. 

You know, it is one thing for Jeter to stand there and bask in other people saying how wonderful he is. It is more than a little creepy and weird when he himself is doing the praising. Change his name to anybody else's in this scenario, and people would agree. But call out Jeter, and you're just a hater. Good grief.

20 comments:

Steve Karsay said...

So Jeter is a poor role model because of what he wears on his feet? Give me a break...

Sounds like cross town jealousy. Mets fans are a riot.

Lisa Swan said...

1) I am a Yankee fan.

2) Like I said, change Jeter's name to anybody else's, and people would have a different reaction.

Kit Carson said...

It is a pity you have nothing of any substance or importance to say other than this drivel. Now I know remember I usually skip over your articles.

Lisa Swan said...

Yet you read, clicked and commented. And will click again to read what I said. Thanks for the page views!

Rolando Morales said...

I will think that those cleats are a gift from Nike. I watch every Yankee game and he may have worn them once but for sure he does not wear them on a daily basis.

By the way, Jeter does not need to have his stats written on his cleats for us to know that he is one of the greatest players in the history of baseball. As many people know, Nike gave Jeter a special pair of cleats to wear in his final All-Star appearance.

Only people like you will find it necessary to criticize a man who has comported himself with class through his 20-year baseball career.

May be, you wanted a date with him and he turned you down... get over it.

Linda Insabella said...

I'm going to venture a guess that someone made them for him and he's just wearing them, and why not?

Uncle Mike said...

Although I think Lisa is making much too much of this -- her preference for A-Rod over Jeter is a familiar topic for Squawker readers -- those of you who are disagreeing with her are making her point for her. You're treating Jeter as if he IS a higher form of life.

He's just a man. A man who is very successful in his field, yes; a man with much to admire about him, yes; but nothing more than a human being.

I have no problem with the shoes. They're ridiculous, but it takes a very watchful eye and a good camera angle to even see what's on them. And, surely, Jeter didn't think this up himself. You want to criticize him for accepting them, go ahead; you want to blame someone for them, blame Nike, one of the most despicable businesses in the history of this planet. (Don't get me started on Nike and Michael Jordan.)

Drew Sarver said...

While I don't agree with everything Lisa wrote...people, it's Lisa's opinion and she shouldn't be knocked for expressing it.

I also hope these cleats will be auctioned off the Turn 2 Foundation and not a moneymaker for Steiner Sports.

Joe Hosking said...

They're just upset that they are still paying bobby bonilla

Lisa Swan said...

Rolando, you are way out of line with your remarks. Unacceptable. I am not going to tolerate you questioning my integrity in such a sexist way.

As for the argument on this page that these cleats were simply a gift from Nike, here's what I have to say about that. Given that Jeter has a product line for Nike, he had to approve them. And he also chose to wear them in games. Jeter also got a guitar as a gift this year, but I don't see him strumming the guitar in games.

As for Drew and Mike, thanks for your comments!

Brian Romeo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian Romeo said...

The cleat thing is a valid criticism, although not a big deal and not worthy of a long rant about. Ranting about the commercial is absurd. I've seen it 10 times already and it gives me goose bumps every single time. The commercial has really very little to do with Jeter... it's about US... WE want to pay our respects to Jeter. If I were a celebrity I actually would have tried to fight my way into the commercial to tip my cap, not to build my brand or whatever, just to pay tribute.

Brian Romeo said...

I really don't believe in personal attacks on the internet... it's cowardly and more to the point, a waste of time. However, the simple truth of the matter is we have a badly overweight, unattractive woman constantly looking for ways to put a negative spin on everything Jeter does. I've never given it much thought until today and after today, never will again.. but I'm starting to think Rolando has a point, this is personal. My guess is Lisa at one time had a huge crush on Jeter and either got rejected or had a moment where he looked right through her, and she's been ax grinding ever since. Admitting it is the first step.

Subway Squawkers said...

So, Brian Romeo, "you don't believe in personal attacks on the internet," yet you attack my looks and my weight in a post you are writing at three in the morning on a Friday night, all because I dared to point out that your hero thinks he is "The King of NY." And you don't have the guts to use a real name or a photo of yourself. Why don't you call yourself "The King of Cowards"?

Subway Squawkers said...

One other point: the weird thing is, I have yet to see a single person online actually defend the content of the words on the shoes, other than to say that he can do whatever he wants, because he's Derek Jeter. They blame the words on Nike, or Michael Jordan, or the man in the moon, but not Jeter.

And they sure don't want to hear about it, because it reminds them that their hero may actually not be the humble, self-effacing person they need him to be.

Ricci Wilson said...

Ranting and trolling here is too much! Over some sneakers and the King of New York , you people need to find something to keep you busy that can be some Benifit to man kind!

Steven said...

Well, at least with the Yankees, they don't abandon the season and trade all their players, like the Red Sox do when things aren't going their way. The Yankees probably aren't going to the playoff this year and certainly aren't going far in the playoffs, but at least they didn't just pack it in like the Sox.

What does this have to do with Jeter, you may ask? Mainly that he, like the Yankee organization, is not perfect, but maybe we harp a bit too much on the negatives?

Subway Squawkers said...

Steven, I think the Sox actually did the right thing in choosing short-term pain for long-term gain, especially when it is harder to get further in the playoffs as a wild card team.

That being said, as I have said repeatedly, regarding the subject at hand, change Jeter's name to anybody else's regarding these shoes, and fans would have a different reaction. But dare to look at Jeter in a rational manner, as a human being, and not a god, and expect vitriol of all sorts to be directed your way, as if their hero is named Jesus, not Jeter. So, who are the people acting like the ones with crushes again? I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say it's the anonymous clown who wishes he could be in the Jeter commercial just to tip his cap.

nyyfan1 said...

Seriously? Most of us fans realize Jeter isn't perfect. He's a human being with flaws. But given how most athletes act nowadays, I'm not going to get worked up over a pair of shoes. If the most "look at me" thing Jeter's done in the past 20 years is wear a pair of sneakers with his stats on it ( that Nike clearly gave him), I'll take it.

Lisa Swan said...

Nyyfan1, thanks for writing, but I wouldn't be so sure on the "most" Jeter fans thing. I never get such nasty comments on the blog, in Facebook, on Twitter, and in my email as when I write anything remotely negative on Jeter!