On Wednesday, a scant 48-hours into his retirement, Derek Jeter launched The Players' Tribune, a website he intended to be a platform for athletes to "connect directly with our fans, with no filter."
"I 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," Jeter wrote. "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 other athletes. We just need to be sure our thoughts will come across the way we intend."
Jeter promised that in the coming days, the Tribune would feature work from a spate of athlete editors, sounding off on a variety of topics. And on Thursday, he introduced us to the first member of his staff: Seattle Seahawks' quarterback Russell Wilson, who penned an op-ed addressing the NFL's ongoing issues with domestic violence.
Titled "Let's Talk About It," Wilson starts by admitting "I used to beat people up," then goes on to dip his toe in the murky waters surrounding Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and the myriad of other players currently facing charges for off-field violence.
"As NFL players, we do not play a gentle game. But our hits, our anger, our aggressive behaviors need to be regulated and confined to the field. Recent incidents of domestic violence have forced the League, its fans and the players to take a hard look into our collective conscience," Wilson writes. "To be honest, many NFL players are reluctant to address such a sensitive issue. How do you fix a problem so big and complex? How do you speak about something so damaging and painful to families?"
Well, for starters, you don't do it at a press conference. And while Wilson's piece isn't exactly a scathing hot take – commissioner Roger Goodell's actions (or lack thereof) are not addressed, outside of mention that "this issue is much bigger than NFL suspensions" – it does make him one of the most prominent players to speak about the issue of domestic violence, and Wilson calls on his fellow players to join him in the discussion. He also asks fans to contribute to his Why Not You foundation, which benefits the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Jeter said Wilson's column is just the first step towards establishing the site as "a safe place where [athletes] can get their message across how they want to portray it."
"We're not trying to take away from the sportswriters," he continued. "Sportswriters are what makes sports successful. I think we're sort of working in conjunction with them."