Friday, October 3, 2014

Shocker: Derek Jeter decides to become a St. Petersburg Squawker!

Of all the things Derek Jeter could do after retirement, he is going to be a blogger? Hey, that's my territory! And guess what? After less than two days in the biz, he is already doing damage control. Good grief.

Anyhow, I read with great interest Jeter's announcement Wednesday that he was starting his own blog, or as he calls it, a "platform," called the Players' Tribune, where athletes could get to speak their minds with "no filter." He also gave sportswriters a big ol' middle finger after they kissed his tuchis for the last two decades, basically saying that he avoided saying anything of interest for 20 years to avoid being misquoted or having his quotes taken out of context. Now he says, "I do think fans deserve more than 'no comments' or 'I don’t knows,'" he said. "Those simple answers ave always stemmed from a genuine concern that any statement, any opinion or detail, might be distorted."

He also announced to the world that he is "not a robot." Who knew?

So Derek has started his own blog platform to, as he puts it, for athletes to have the tools they need to share what they really think and feel," so that they can "connect directly with our fans, with no filter."

Obviously, I have more than a few opinions on this endeavor:

First of all, this is not a new idea. In fact, didn't Curt Schilling do this, like, a decade ago with his 38 Pitches blog, way before social media? And don't athletes already have Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and their own web pages these days to communicate with fans? Heck, Richard Sherman even has his own weekly column with!

Second, there actually will be a filter -- the "editors" and "producers" Jeter acknowledges will be involved with the product, making decisions on everything from proofreading to choice of article topics. There will also be PR professionals involved, no doubt, to protect these players' brand and make sure they don't say anything interesting. Not to mention smoothing out those rough edges. It will be the verbal equivalent of Kim Kardashian's and Beyonce's "candid" Instagram shots that are actually Photoshopped to death.

Do you know what happens to athletes with no filter who "share what they really think and feel"? They usually get in trouble with the public. Heck, even with editors involved, athletes can get in trouble. Remember how David Wells got fined for daring to write in his autobiography that he was still half-drunk before his perfect game? Remember how Charles Barkley claimed he was misquoted -- in his own autobiography?

Heck, Jeter is already having to do damage control with sportswriters after his initial manifesto, telling Jimmy Fallon that the site "is not trying to eliminate sportswriters," and that "sportswriters are what make sports great and fun to watch." Heh.

I also would like to know exactly when/where Jeter thinks that reporters misquoted him. Because he literally received 99% positive coverage over the past 20 years. Also, thanks to televised post-game press conferences, players already have the ability to communicate to the fans directly. Yet Jeter still didn't say anything interesting in that spot.

Also, if Jeter is going to speak out now, he had better answer more interesting questions than he did in his snoozeworthy #AskJeter Twitter live chat. Maybe if I were 12 years old, I might want to know #2's favorite flavor of ice cream or whether he preferred chicken to beef. But I think people are more interested in things like how he really felt about A-Rod, a question I and many others asked him online in the chat, yet were ignored.

Something else Jeter is not acknowledging when it comes to being allegedly unfiltered is this: celebrities who talk about real issues stir up controversy and can suffer a financial hit. After Oprah Winfrey campaigned for Barack Obama for president, she lost a good chunk of her audience who never came back to her show. Rosie O'Donnell lost millions of fans and her reputation as the "Queen of Nice" when she got involved with political hectoring.

As Michael Jordan allegedly put it at one point when asked to wade into politics: Republicans buy sneakers, too. Are Jeter and other athletes going to risk potentially damaging their endorsement contracts, or their product sales, by truly saying what they really think? I doubt it. Heck, they are not even going to have a comments section on their articles!

In fact, Jeter also told Fallon while other athletes "like to share with the people, everything about them. I, personally, have not done that, and I personally will not do that." He insisted, "this is not about me, this is about an avenue for the players.” So even with his own blog, Jeter still isn't going to say anything interesting. Move over, Richard Neer. We have a new Sir Sominex!

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