New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has been taking plenty of flak recently for apparently putting on a few pounds while recovering from surgery to repair a broken ankle during the off-season.
The mocking began last week, when the New York Post ran a picture of Jeter in a T-shirt showing a bit of a doughy middle. The always clever newspaper ran the photo alongside a headline that read Derek Eater.
Once that photo hit the Internet, the pile on began. BuzzFeed, fresh off fat-shaming Lady Gaga, ran the photo with several insulting messages, including, “Most feared opponent? Diabetes” and “Captain of the gravy boat.”
The website attempted to justify itself with the following note: “We understand that Jeter hurt his ankle, and will probably be fine come March, but just remember this is a photo of a guy who makes $17-million [U.S.] a year to be an athlete (i.e. IN SHAPE).”
That note didn’t seem to appreciate the fact that Jeter is wearing a protective boot, which probably makes cardio and most other forms of exercise pretty difficult.
Regardless, most commenters have not been amused. One called the mockery “unnecessarily nasty spirited” while another said it was “just as out of line as bashing models who put on five pounds. Nasty, low-brow and unoriginal.”
Jeter, 38, who has always been a class act, responded to the matter on an ESPN radio show Monday.
“I thought it was pretty funny,” he said of the New York Post story. “I guess there’s a lot of things you can do with a picture. The funny thing is, a day or two before that people were telling me I looked like I lost a lot of weight. And two days later I’m on the front page of the New York Post. So they had a little fun with it, but it’s over and done with. I guess they do what they do.”
Do you think it’s fair to mock Jeter’s weight gain on the grounds that he’s an athlete? Is it ever fair to mock anyone’s weight gain?