Pinstripes to publishing
ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR
In spite of the Yankees missing the playoffs for only the third time in his career, Derek Jeter still found a way to make his mark on October. On Oct. 1, he launched his new website, “The Players’ Tribune,” a media source where fans can read pieces written by the star athletes they love. The idea is to cut out the middleman, and avoid any possibilities of athletes being misquoted or having their messages construed in a way that is misleading.
Jeter expanded on the purpose of the website in his inaugural post.
“I’m in the process of building a place where athletes have the tools they need to share what they really think and feel,” Jeter said on his site. “We want to have a way to connect directly with our fans, with no filter.”
I know what many of you are thinking: This already exists, it’s called Twitter. As far as experiencing fan connection with no filter, that would be correct. However, as many athletes have figured out, the uncensored, ticking time bomb that is Twitter can be equally as destructive as it can be helpful in promoting one’s image.
Jeter, a sporadic presence on the Twittersphere, is not talking about unfiltering his everyday thoughts for the world to see. He is creating a “Tribune,” which suggests that it will be a medium for athletes to post well thought out articles on a variety of topics.
So far, the only two contributions to the site have been made by Jeter and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, two highly respected athletes who are known to lead by example and avoid the limelight. While Jeter’s post was underwhelming and unrevealing (I’ll give him a break since it was an introduction), Wilson spoke about domestic violence. The point of his article was to open up conversation about the huge issue while promoting his “Pass the Peace” campaign designed to raise money for the The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Wilson’s contribution to Jeter’s site should be the blueprint for any athlete who writes for the “Tribune.” He gives the public his views on a prevalent, prominent issue affecting his league. What is more significant is that he recognizes the issue as one that exists well beyond the scope of football and even offers a way to help.
Athletes must recognize that they have immense influence in our culture and a unique platform to initiate change. “The Players’ Tribune” could prove to be the tool that empowers athletes to speak about issues they care about, and move from being leaders on the field to leaders in society.