While the paper doesn’t seem eager to draw attention to it, New York Times columnist Michael Powell has a scoop today: Derek Jeter is connected, at a degree of remove, to what recent Al Jazeera reporting presents as a doping ring that allegedly provided Peyton Manning, James Harrison, and Ryan Howard, among others, with performance-enhancing drugs.
While the Times presents this as complex story, it’s actually fairly straightforward. Charles Sly is a pharmacist who described his role in providing famous athletes with banned drugs to an Al Jazeera reporter, credibly and in detail. (He recanted once the story went public; Al Jazeera says a second, well-placed source corroborates his claims.) According to Times reporting, what many of these athletes have in common is that they’re clients of Florida-based trainer Jason Riley, Sly’s business partner.
Riley—and this is where it gets interesting—was Derek Jeter’s trainer through the back end of the legendary shortstop’s career. A 2010 story by ESPN’s Ian O’Connor credited him with having “reshaped Jeter’s body and game.” According to that story, Jeter met Riley after the 2007 season, when he was 33, and said he wanted to play eight to 10 more years. Jeter didn’t meet that goal, but he was unusually durable and productive over the rest of his career. In 2012, for instance, he played 159 games and led the league in base hits. No 38-year-old shortstop had hit as well in a century.
“The results were staggering,” O’Connor wrote of Riley’s work. “Suddenly Derek Jeter had replaced Dick Clark as America’s oldest teenager.”
As noted in the Times report, which is blandly headlined “Following the Names in the Al Jazeera Doping Report” though it carries the string “al-jazeera-peyton-manning-derek-jeter-charles-sly” in its URL, there is no evidence here demonstrating that Jeter was a user of any performance-enhancing drug. This means that the whole story amounts to a lot of throat-clearing and insinuation, which leads to a question. Derek Jeter, an athlete with a famously pristine image who in various ways performed at a nearly unprecedented level late in his career, credited much of his success to the business partner of a man who has convincingly claimed to have helped famous athletes dope. Is the Times saying that’s a story, or not?
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