Should Jeter defend A-Rod?

In the wake of Joe Torre’s new book set to hit the shelves on Tuesday, Wallace Matthews of Newsday writes that Derek Jeter should step up and publicly defend Alex Rodriguez as his teammate and captain.

Alex Rodriguez & Derek JeterNo one, of course, tells Derek Jeter what to do, and I don’t presume to try. But it is my considered opinion that Jeter can hide for only so long behind his stock answer, “I haven’t read the book yet.”

The book is out Tuesday. Time to start reading. And he doesn’t even have to read it to come out and say, simply: “Alex is my teammate. Alex is our guy. Everyone in this clubhouse stands behind him.”

And that has to include the captain. Because that’s what captains do.

And it’s the captain’s job to have his teammates’ backs, every one of them, even if it means taking a stand against a former manager and mentor. Torre isn’t a Yankee anymore, but Rodriguez is. The Yankees can win without Torre but not without A-Rod. For the good of his team, Captain Jeter had better choose which side of this argument he is on in a hurry.

And there would be no better time for him to announce his position than today, when Torre comes to town to kick off a media blitz designed to sell whatever odd copies of the book haven’t already been pre-ordered.

Today would be a fine day for Jeter to make himself available’ to the media, just to let everyone – and one guy in particular – know he’s got A-Rod’s back.

I agree to a point. As a leader, Jeter should stand up and defend his teammates and back them whenever they’re publicly criticized like A-Rod was in Torre’s book. But nobody knows what has really gone on in the Yankees’ clubhouse over the years and therefore nobody has the right to tell Jeter whom he should and shouldn’t defend.

Maybe A-Rod is the ultimate prick and he has already pissed Jeter off too many times to count. Maybe Jeter has already made an effort to back the guy and it’s come back to bit him in the ass. The point is, we don’t know what happens inside a clubhouse or what Jeter’s motivation is behind backing or not backing a teammate. And Jeter is a consummate pro so I wouldn’t question his motivates either way in a situation like this.

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