Yesterday, Derek Jeter announced one of his plans for retirement. The future Hall of Famer who always measured his words, is launching a website to provide athletes with an “unfiltered” resource to express their views.
In a note on the site, Jeter explained the new Players Tribune:
I realize I’ve been guarded. I learned early on in New York, the toughest media environment in sports, that just because a reporter asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer. I attribute much of my success in New York to my ability to understand and avoid unnecessary distractions.
I do think fans deserve more than “no comments” or “I don’t knows.” Those simple answers have always stemmed from a genuine concern that any statement, any opinion or detail, might be distorted. I have a unique perspective. Many of you saw me after that final home game, when the enormity of the moment hit me. I’m not a robot. Neither are the other athletes who at times might seem unapproachable. We all have emotions. We just need to be sure our thoughts will come across the way we intend.
So I’m in the process of building a place where athletes have the tools they need to share what they really think and feel. We want to have a way to connect directly with our fans, with no filter.
I am working with other athletes, with editors and with producers to create a platform that gives us a chance to say what’s on our minds. It’s called The Players’ Tribune. Over the next few months, we’ll be introducing a strong core of athlete editors and contributors who will shape the site into an online community filled with first-person stories and behind-the-scenes content.
My goal is for the site to ultimately transform how athletes and newsmakers share information, bringing fans closer than ever to the games they love.
This morning, Russell Wilson was introduced as The Players Tribune first “senior editor.” Pretty good starting out on the senior level.
We’ve heard for years about athletes bypassing the messenger (reporters) and delivering the message themselves. It’s already done in many ways via social media and other outlets.
Yet will Jeter’s site really satisfy the public in terms of what they get from their heroes? Writes Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing:
There are immediate questions with regards to the launch of The Players’ Tribune. First of all, we’ve seen these athlete blogs and websites come and go before. Second, with such a robust editorial team behind the project, are we truly going to get something unfiltered? Just how many chefs are going to be in the kitchen when it comes to producing content at The Players’ Tribune?
Indeed, fans want the truth and substance. They don’t want PR vehicles for their players.
It will be interesting to see how much “real stuff” is delivered by The Players Tribune. If the stories aren’t nothing more than glorified first-person press releases, then it won’t be much better than getting a “no comment” or “I don’t know” from Derek Jeter.