Derek Jeter called the Yankees’ parting of ways with manager Joe Girardi “unfortunate” on Thursday, but mostly he chalked it up to the nature of the business.
“I played with Joe,” the former Yankees captain said, speaking at the Fast Company Innovation Festival on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. “He was a coach. He was a manager. He’s probably one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. You know, it’s unfortunate. This is a business. You learn that.
“I think when you first come up as an athlete, as a professional athlete, when you’re younger, you’re just playing the game. The longer you play, you realize this is starting to become a business. So there are some things that at times are unpopular, or are not popular. But it’s part of the business.”
Jeter said he had slept in and heard the Girardi news en route to his 1:30 p.m. session. He took questions on stage from a moderator and audience members but did not speak to reporters before or after his 45-minute appearance.
Mostly Jeter discussed “The Players’ Tribune,” his website dedicated to unfiltered essays by athletes, and briefly his new role as the Marlins’ CEO and co-owner.
Jeter spoke of a broken trust between athletes and traditional media members. “I think everyone’s fighting for a story, they want clicks, they want headlines,” he said. “Once you’ve lost trust, it’s kind of hard to get it back.”
Jeter called his transition to former player during the past three years “challenging.”
“I’ve always prided myself on being prepared, and since retiring, there are a lot things you learn,” he said. “[Like] starting the Tribune. There were some bumps in the road, but it’s how do you make it a speed bump as opposed to a road block? Those are things you have to learn.
“So I’ve tried to be as prepared as I possibly can, but in some situations, you find yourself sitting there a little bit overwhelmed at times . . . It has been challenging, but it has been fun.”
The birth of his first child, a daughter, two months ago added to his hectic life.
“That’s a whole other hour conversation,” he said, laughing. He said after years of being shown pictures of other people’s children, he now can understand where they were coming from.
“Once you turn into a parent, every opportunity you get, you want to show a picture,” he said.
Asked about the ongoing controversy over some NFL players kneeling during the pregame national anthem, Jeter said, “Everyone has their ways of peaceful protest. As long as it’s peaceful. If every protest was peaceful, the world would be a better place.
“You may not necessarily agree with how someone is protesting, but as long as it’s peaceful. Now, saying that, would I kneel during the anthem? No, I don’t think I would kneel during the anthem. But everyone has their own personal choice. I think people have lost sight of the fact of what someone is protesting about and they’re focusing on how they’re protesting, which is unfortunate.”