Accusing Derek Jeter of using performance-enhancing drugs is a good way to get a lot of attention.
I think anyone who plays for the New York Yankees is going to come under suspicion, even the great Derek Jeter, normally viewed as infallible. The Yankees have been the poster child for PED usage, with numerous current and former players outed as cheaters. Jeter’s name has never remotely been connected to PED use. But someone was bound to try to make the connection, particularly with Jeter’s renaissance season in which arguments have been made that he should finally win his first regular-season Most Valuable Player award at age 38. Skip Bayless turned out to be the guy.
It’s fair to wonder how Jeter has been able to pull off his brilliant performance in a year when he is leaving baseball immortals in the dust on his climb to the top of several key baseball categories. But I can truthfully say that I’ve never once thought that Jeter might be using drugs to get ahead. Of course, I could have said the same thing about Andy Pettitte before he admitted to using human growth hormone.
In all honesty, I had no idea who Skip Bayless was until this story broke. But I have to give it to him—he chose his target well. Bayless knew that anyone connecting Jeter to PEDs was going to get a lot of free publicity, and as they say, there’s no such thing as bad press. But some things are truly unfair, such as insinuating that any player, let alone Derek Jeter, is trying to cheat the system with nothing in the way of evidence.
Bayless knows that Jeter can’t really fight back, no matter how angry and annoyed he may be that his integrity is being questioned. Jeter is a public figure so he really has no options to combat such unfounded accusations. He, as always, chose to try to deflect and minimize the situation. But I can only imagine how livid he must be right now.
Bayless got what he wanted: his 15 minutes of fame. Let’s just end it there.