Is Derek Jeter “Captain Copout”?

From Hank Steinbrenner on down, everyone in Yankee management made statements of support for Alex Rodriguez. Rank and file Yankees like Brett Gardner joined the chorus. Players from other teams, like David Wright, didn't have a negative word to say and even Curt Schilling, noted Yankee and steroid hater, said he "appreciated" A-Rod's admission.

Derek Jeter, though, wouldn't say anything because he wanted to wait for the entire Yankee media flotilla to arrive in Tampa before addressing the issue. To Ken Davidoff of Newsday, that makes him "Captain Copout." From Davidoff's column:

All everyone in pinstripes has to do is steal from the talking points that the Yankees wove into a statement late Monday night: "Drugs bad. A-Rod human. We're a family. Glad he admitted it. We support him. Onward and upward!"

Jeter could have said that on Tuesday, on Wednesday and a million more times this season without causing himself too much stress. He certainly isn't going to get away with making one statement on the day that position players officially report to Spring Training. He's smart enough and been around long enough to know that's not how it works in New York, or anywhere else, when it comes to controversial topics.

No one's asking him to say anything too profound, just what Davidoff suggested, which is pretty much what Jeter said in reference to the A-Rod drama in Joe Torre's book. He never shied away from publicly supporting Jason Giambi and Andy Pettitte, and even said nice things about Roger Clemens who can't be accused of handling steroid accusations well.

By not reacting, Jeter has to know that he's creating another story, so why the delay? Perhaps it is that this whole saga only serves to make Jeter look all the more like baseball's only unimpeachable golden boy, and he'd like to bathe in that for a while before getting down into the muck with A-Rod.

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