Derek Jeter is now just days away from retiring, and while most sports fans are enjoying and commemorating his final days, there are some — including ESPN personality Keith Olbermann — who feel the need to put a damper on this historic moment. Even though Jeter is a 20 year veteran, multiple All Star, multiple World Series champion, and perhaps most importantly a player who has lived up to his captaincy in New York in exemplary fashion, that still isn’t enough for Olbermann, who instead put his interns to task to come up with every statistical reason why we shouldn’t be paying so much time and attention to Jeter’s legacy. In fact, Olbermann not only bashed Jeter and his lacking stats, but in typical Olbermann fashion he laced his words with smarminess, arrogance, condescension, sarcasm, and as always a dash of anger.
As someone who greatly admires sports leaders that lead by example, I can’t think of another athlete going today who better portrays what being a role model truly is about. While we sit and watch athlete after athlete engage in cheating, drug/alcohol abuse, domestic violence, murder, rape, and just about every other imaginable sin or crime, Derek Jeter has never been attached to any of those kinds of stories. In fact, even Olbermann himself had much kinder words to say about Jeter earlier this year:
I don’t know if Olbermann is purposely mad at the world or what, but to blast Jeter in the way he just did this week suggests either Olbermann really is the most hateful man in the world (and might even make his own childish “Worst Person in the World” list), hes painfully lacking in the ability to see all of a player’s worth beyond statistics, or he just needs ratings. Pick on other players, Keith, as there are certainly enough to choose from (in just the past week you could have picked from a number of NFL players who deserve your criticism far more than Derek Jeter).
Derek Jeter many not own any batting titles or any league MVP’s, and maybe he wasn’t the second coming of Ozzie Smith at shortstop, but his consistent play and leadership are more than enough for me to value his service to the game of baseball, and use him as a true American sports icon for my kids to look up to in the future. I know sports media is often consumed by sensationalism and “clicks” for stories, but blasting Derek Jeter is about the most looney and disingenuous thing a sports reporter can do.