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Derek Jeter is not your anti-PEDs avatar

Feb 13, 2014, 5:21 PM EDT

New York Yankees Photo Day Getty Images

I have zero reason to think that Derek Jeter ever used PEDs. I’d personally be surprised if he did. As would I assume most people. But I also think that his use or lack thereof, absent any actual information about it, is pretty irrelevant to our consideration of him as a player. There’s plenty there to consider about the guy. God knows we’ve done a lot of that here in the past 24 hours or so.

But there are some people for whom Jeter’s actual track record is not enough. Some people for whom Jeter must be used as an avatar to fight the dragons and demons with which they preoccupy themselves. Bob Klapisch, for example. Who spends about half of his Jeter appreciation column going after PED users in general and Alex Rodriguez specifically.

Not only has Jeter served as the billboard of the beautiful war with the Red Sox, he has stood for success without chemicals, without the PEDs that Alex Rodriguez became so hopelessly addicted to. . . That would be Jeter’s last laugh on the steroid junkies, outlasting them all, outperforming their beloved chemicals.

Last laugh for Jeter, or for you, Bob? Because I recall absolutely zero instances of Derek Jeter inserting himself into a leadership or example role in the PED conversation the way you’d cast him now. If he had strong feelings about it he kept them to himself, just as he’s kept everything of actual substance to himself over the years.

In recent years Jeter has said all the right things — broad things — about cheating being bad. But in the past he also said things about supporting his teammates like Roger Clemens, Jason Giambi and, yes, Alex Rodriguez. At no time did he stand up in a union meeting in, say, 1999 and demand that the players submit to drug testing. He was like most other players who have not had PED suspicion about him: generally silent, but supportive of the way in which the conversation has progressed. He is not at all an outspoken leader like some other players. Rick Helling stood for success without chemicals, quite vocally. Jeter, as with most things, was cooler about it.

Which does absolutely nothing to diminish his standing as a player. The point is that all of that jabber like Klapisch brings up is beside the point. It is using Jeter as a means of fighting the battles he wants Jeter to fight for him, not for anything inherent in Jeter’s record or his legacy. It’s Klapisch’s way of trying to wrap up a morality play in which he is heavily invested with a nice happy ending. To use Jeter’s career as a referendum on people and things, frankly, Jeter probably cares very little about. Or, if he does, cares very little if you or I know about it.

Ultimately, using Jeter this way says a hell of a lot more about the people doing the using than it does about Derek Jeter.

  1. halladaysbiceps - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    Jesus H., Bob Klapisch angers me! And I DESPISE PEDs. But NEVER, EVER put Derek Jeter’s name in the same column as one involving PEDs.

    • mmeyer3387 - Feb 13, 2014 at 7:08 PM

      I may also become one that gets sick of excessive praise of Jeter, if it turns into a religion and sports reporters make him a god of their causes. Clearly, Jeter has been a fun player to watch over the years and his play his made him an icon for one sports greatest championship runs. That being said, I truly love baseball, but I’M SICK OF THE PED RELIGION on both sides of the argument. Can we please move on, this is worst than the 1960’s Vietnam war, you just can’t get away from it.

      • halladaysbiceps - Feb 13, 2014 at 7:25 PM

        I agree with you partially. I love baseball and have loved Jeter’s career. However, the PED era is another thing. I have my opinions on it, but I not debating it any longer. People have their opinions on the PED stuff and I’m too tired to debate the issue any longer.

  2. nymets4ever - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    As jaded as I am about the Jeter lovefest that’ll take over the 2014 season…he has every right to be praised for putting up big numbers, staying durable, and making countless winning plays while never succumbing to PEDs, especially in an era when many of his peers and high-profile teammates didn’t. And he will be getting that praise whether you approve of it or not.

    • halladaysbiceps - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:48 PM

      Agreed. Jeter is the finest offensive SS of our era. Before him, the finest offensive SS of that era was Cal Ripken Jr. Before him, Honus Wagner (LOL! I kid).

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      And he will be getting that praise whether you approve of it or not.

      It’s probably not worth bringing up, but this isn’t what Craig is saying. Praise Jeter for not using PEDs all you want, but Craig is saying that he’s not the anti-PED crusader that the Klap is making him out to be. Considering Jeter won’t even do recruiting calls/visits for the Yanks, it’s not in his nature to be on the forefront of issues like this.

  3. righthandofjustice - Feb 13, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    Whether Jeter ever used PED or not, different people have different opinions.

    Skip Bayless has his opinion on Jeter. Jeter has his own opinion on Bayless.

    My opinion is: Both Jeter and Bayless should be tested for PED.

    • bigharold - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:27 PM

      Bayless should be tested for brain damage.

      • 18thstreet - Feb 13, 2014 at 7:00 PM

        Whoever keeps giving Bayless a microphone is the problem.

  4. cocheese000 - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:00 PM

    Anyone that thinks jeter has never used a single PED is being very naive.

    • sabatimus - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:07 PM

      I wonder if “being very naive” is an available handle.

    • 18thstreet - Feb 13, 2014 at 7:01 PM

      I took some over the counter flu medicine last night. It’s a performance enhancing drug. I also take allergy medicine every day. Also a PED.

      So, yes, I’m guessing that Jeter has also taken PEDs. We all do.

    • dan1111 - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:05 AM

      I don’t think it should be presumed that Jeter or anyone else took PEDs without evidence.

      On the other hand, when a player has a reputation as being a good citizen, that is treated as if it is proof that he never used. Which it is not.

  5. cur'68 - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    And the legend of St. Jeter Loyola grows….

    • ltzep75 - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:16 AM

      The Knights of Columbus…Circle?

  6. cackalackyank - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    I think Jeter is a great Baseball player, and a great humanitarian, and serves up a fine gift basket. But to deify him or use him as a magic weapon to smite all that is wrong with his fellow players is just wrong. Evaluate and respect him for who he is, not for what other people aren’t, or weren’t.

  7. pastabelly - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:17 PM

    Derek Jeter never said anything controversial nor took any stands. He always said the “right thing” that would neither piss off his teammates or the general public. From that standpoint, he was the personna of the Yankees and fit their corporate image.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:23 PM

      nor took any stands.

      Should this be praised though? Personally I think it shouldn’t.

      • paperlions - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:37 PM

        Agreed. Not publicly taking a stand should be neither praised nor condemned. The ability of old white dudes to make Jeter into something he is not, has never been, and has no desire to be is just crazy….and all because Jeter is a blank canvas. He’s never provided an strong or controversial opinion to define himself, which many hacks have taken as license to paint that canvas how they see fit.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:00 PM

        Yeah, I fully understand the “Republicans wear Nikes too” comment from Jordan, but no one was praising him for standing up for anything either.

  8. tfbuckfutter - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    Does Valtrex count as a PED?

    Seriously, I heard that his herpes are so bad one of them grew up to be that Fred guy on Nickelodeon.

  9. mikhelb - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:52 PM

    speaking against peds is not a clear sign of not using PEDs; Rafael Palmeiro spoke harsh words against ped usage in front of the congress; David Ortiz said that a first positive test result should carry a penalty of one full season, but that was a bit before it was known that he tested positive and got angry when he was reminded of what he said… he has even shown that ‘roid-rage’-like attittude whenever somebody says something to that regard even when he gets asked while being in the facility where MLB-banned Angel Presinal trains him in the DR along other players who have tested positive but were not lucky enough to be playing in the redsox and get the benefit of the silence by Mitchell and Selig.

  10. genericcommenter - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    I don’t care about the PEDs, but Jetes has much better taste in women. Never heard (or saw) about him being into “the muscular shemale type.”

  11. rdanie29 - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    “Because I recall absolutely zero instances of Derek Jeter inserting himself into a leadership or example role in the PED conversation the way you’d cast him now.” I can’t think of a time when this guy tried to insert himself into ANY leadership role relating to the direction of baseball in the last 20 years. The guy has spent his whole career walking the middle ground and not saying a thing,Which is a damn shame because he could have been an influential figure for many good things. He is more wishy-washy than Charlie Brown.

    • zzalapski - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:46 AM

      It may be a shame, but if he doesn’t want the responsibility of being an influential figure, we shouldn’t hold that against him, just like we shouldn’t necessarily give him points for always giving vanilla quotes.

      Maybe he just wants to be viewed as a baseball player. To that end, he was a really, really good one.

  12. therooneyskilledwebster - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:56 AM

    When Klapisch alleges that “Jeter has stood for success without chemicals” he’s probably correct regarding his individual successes but he is factually incorrect regarding his team’s successes due to the transgressions of Mr.’s Clemens, Pettite, Rodriguez, Giambi, etc.

  13. stex52 - Feb 14, 2014 at 8:13 AM

    I like Jeter. You like Jeter. We all like Jeter. He has been a fine baseball player and one of the most popular I remember in a long time. But we are going to all be very tired of hearing about him very soon.

    • sandwiches4ever - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:07 PM

      Too late.

  14. ctony1216 - Feb 14, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    In Jeter’s case, it’s called “leadership by example.” He doesn’t have to preach about steroids, instead he demonstrates that you can have a great career without them, which is more powerful than preaching.

    Also, when asked to discuss steroids, Jeter’s always been perfectly clear about where he stands:
    “One thing that’s irritating and really upsets me a lot is when you hear people say that everybody did it,” Jeter said. “Everybody wasn’t doing it.”

    In Jeter’s case, it must be particularly peeving because other All-Star shortstops of his era (A-Rod, Miguel Tejada), who he was often compared to, were putting up multiple 30-homer seasons taking PEDs.

  15. onbucky96 - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    St.Lupica of the Times will smite any who speakes poorly of “The Captain”. Cue the Imperial March…

  16. louhudson23 - Feb 14, 2014 at 11:42 AM

    He and a lot of other players,managers,ownership and MLB itself should have stood up and said something,if only in self interest. Any misguided accusations are at least somewhat a direct result of the fact that they did not. Jeter,as much as I respect his career and have loved being able to watch him day in and day out should have have used his bully pulpit to point out the sham being made of the game. But they didn’t .Neither did many fans. But if there was any group that did raise hell about it all,it was the fans. Thank heavens we are back to watching real baseball and not the video game that we suffered through for 15 years.And you fans of video baseball will just have to be satisfied with HR Derby each AS break and your PlayStations and X-Box fantasies….And the PED WAB’s can stick your head back up your EXCEL loving,Greenie false equivalency narrative butts……

  17. jonmarkbarre - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    I thinks 1 reason Jeter hated up on the A-Roid so much is cuz he musta known that A-Roid was eating up the steroids. But then gain he got 2 hate up on all the players he thinking ate up steroids on those yankees teams were brain cashman is always tellin hes players need 2 juice it up and eat a steroid s

  18. yordo - Feb 14, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    Recap: Craig is suspicious of Jeter but still supports A-Rod. I like.

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