New York Yankees

A little over a year into retirement, New York Yankees great Derek Jeter finds himself (indirectly) involved in a performance enhancing drugs controversy.

By Israel Gonzalez

Derek Jeter, former New York Yankees shortstop, had a career (spanning 20 season) that most players can only dream of.

3,465 hits, 1,923 runs, 544 doubles, 66 triples, 260 homeruns, 1,311 runs batted in, and a game-winning run batted in his final Yankee Stadium at-bat.

A high profile personal life which he managed to keep from the public, has also been something he’said held near and dear to his heart. He has also never been associated with anyone currently (or previously) linked to performance enhancing drugs.

Until now.

Last week, Al Jazeera released a report claiming that Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was supplied with Human Growth Hormones (HGH). The report from Al Jazeera claims that it was Manning’s wife who was supplied with the PED’s, presumably to give them to Manning.

That same report listed other athletes such as Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies and Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals.

One name that has been brought to light is Charlie Sly, who not surprisingly is the pharmacist who revealed (to Al Jazeera) that an Indianapolis clinic had supplied PED’s to Manning’s wife. This doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, right? After all, whistle blowers are always revealing the controversial nature of clinics that supply PED’s to players.

In 2009, Charlie Sly and Jason Riley founded Elementz Nutrition. This company was founded to provide athletes with sports performance products, anti-aging products, and supplements. Jason Riley also happens to be a fitness trainer. Once those (seemingly) small details became known, pieces started falling into place. Connections started getting made.

“Nearly all of the athletes Sly named are clients of Jason Riley,” said Michael Powell of the New York Times.

How is this significant? What does this have to do with Derek Jeter?

There is one thing. One little thing, that, although doesn’t prove anything, may very well cause the court of public opinion to change their views on No. 2.

Jason Riley has one client who is arguably above them all. He has one client that played during the PED era and walked away the same way he walked in. He has one client that is adored by fans and foes alike. His greatest client is Derek Jeter.

Riley is considered to be the force behind Jeter’s resurgence in the final stages of his career. With the former now being associated with PEDs, questions about the latter, and whether or not he was involved, are sure to be brought up.

To be perfectly clear, Derek Jeter is NOT being accused of anything. Not here, nor anywhere else. This is not an indictment towards Jeter. This merely brings to light something that could be problematic for the former Yankees star.

“The report does not provide any evidence that suggests Jeter violated Major League Baseball’s steroid policy during his 20 seasons with the Yankees, but it does raises questions about the Yankee star’s relationship with Riley, who founded Elementz Nutrition with Sly, who has since claimed he lied when he told Al Jazeera the Guyer Institute had shipped HGH to Ashley Manning,” said Michael O’Keeffe of the New York Daily News.

Hypothetically speaking though, this would be not only a massive blow to Derek Jeter, but also to Major League Baseball. MLB had rebounded and recovered from the PR hits taken when the likes of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and many others were linked to PEDs.

But Derek Jeter? How do you come back from that? How do you go from lauding him as this great player and even better man, to condemning him as yet another, in the long line, of PED users?

The answer isn’t simple. Nothing about the Al Jazeera report is simple. Jeter wasn’t even named in the report. He didn’t have to be, though. One plus one always equals two. In this case, it didn’t take long to piece this particular puzzle together. At the end of the day, Jeter, through no fault of his own, became indirectly involved in the latest PED problem.

Let’s just hope that Jeter’s Hall of Fame chances aren’t hurt by something that isn’t even an accusation. Because really, do the Baseball Writers of America really need a reason not to vote someone in unanimously?

Next: Who do you leave out of the New York Yankees rotation?

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Israel Gonzalez was born in the greatest borough that New York has to offer, The Bronx. Originally a Mixed Martial Arts writer, Israel started covering NY sports less than a year ago, which is only fitting given his ties to New York. Israel’s favorite NY teams, in no particular order, are the New York Yankees, New York City FC, the New York Jets, and the New York Knicks. He is looking forward to the next step in what has been an eventful journey.