Ethics Hero: Derek Jeter

Roger Clemens is now on trial facing perjury charges. Barry Bonds has been convicted of obstruction of justice. Pacman Jones has just been arrested again; Tiger Woods hasn’t won a golf tournament since he was exposed as a serial adulterer. Through the travails and embarrassments of all of these and many more tarnished athletes who were once looked upon as cultural heroes, Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter has remained a constant— a team player, a clutch player, and an undeniably great player who has maintained his integrity and high values of competition and sportsmanship, never betraying the trust of his fans, his city, his team, or his game.

Yesterday Jeter reached 3000 hits, the watermark of the greatest of the greats, becoming the only lifetime New York Yankee to do so. He achieved the magic number with the flair only special players can muster, rising to a grand occasion like Ted Williams, hitting a home run in his final at bat, or Cal Ripken, marking  his passing of Lou Gehrig’s “iron man” record for consecutive games with a homer. Yesterday, Jeter passed 3000 in a rush, going 5 for 5 with the hit # 3000 being, yes, a round-tripper. Continue reading

Thomas Boswell’s Outrageous Ethical Breach

In the first installment of Ken Burns’ latest addendum to his epic documentary “Baseball”, there is a considerable discussion of baseball’s steroid problem, and its effect on the game, its image, and integrity.  Washington Post sportswriter Thomas Boswell is one of those interviewed, and caused quite a few PBS watchers, including me, to drop their jaws when he volunteered this:

“There was another player now in the Hall of Fame who literally stood with me and mixed something and I said ‘What’s that?’ and he said ‘it’s a Jose Canseco milkshake.’ [ Note: Star outfielder Jose Canseco was widely believed to be a steroid user from early in his career, and he finally admitted it after retiring.] And that year that Hall of Famer hit more home runs than ever hit any other year. So it wasn’t just Canseco, and so one of the reasons that I thought that it was an important subject was that it was spreading. It was already spreading by 1988.”

Boswell, who knew exactly what the player meant by “Jose Canseco milkshake,” never reported the apparent use of steroids—illegal in 1988, as it is now— to the team, Major League Baseball, or the public. Continue reading