Editor: ‘Players Tribune is becoming an athletic community’

Jeter Players TribuneAn excerpt on my latest column for Poynter:

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When The Players’ Tribune issued a release it had hired Kevin Durant as its new deputy publisher last week, it prompted the usual jokes on social media and elsewhere. USA Today even did a post noting that Kobe Bryant, who holds the title of editorial director for The Players’ Tribune, can’t be happy about Durant leapfrogging him.

“Well, these are honorary titles that suggest the athletes have a place in our company,” said Players’ Tribune editorial director Gary Hoenig. “We meant to explain them a little bit more jocularly—is that the word? We just haven’t gotten around to it. Kevin will have a role with us, but is he going to call and ask why we are spending so much on travel? I don’t think so.”

Hoenig, though, says the addition of Durant is yet another positive sign as The Players’ Tribune begins year two. Last October, Derek Jeter made the quick transition from shortstop to publisher by being the most visible presence at the unveiling of the new site. Jeter said the Players’ Tribune empowers athletes to tell stories in their own voices, allowing them to bypass the distortion created in today’s media environment.

Since then, Hoenig said more than 360 athletes have contributed their posts to The Players’ Tribune. He has been pleasantly surprised by how word of the site has circulated among athletes. That includes Durant, who has had his issues with the media.

“In the last six months, we’ve gotten a lot of unsolicited interest from athletes,” Hoenig said. “What’s interesting is that The Players’ Tribune is becoming an athletic community…Athletes see a role for themselves in terms of holding on to their own narrative. Kevin is interested in taking this business in that direction.”

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