“I Remember Being So Hurt” – American Baseball Star Derek Jeter, Shares Racism He Faced
American former professional baseball shortstop Derek Jeter, has garnered lot of attentions throughout his amazing rise to stardom, but it wasn’t often his play skills that drew the watchful eyes.
During the first episode of “The Captain,” an ESPN seven-part docuseries that highlights Jeter’s illustrious career, the Yankees infield defensive player Legend shares what life was like as a biracial kid growing up in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Jeter’s parents love story began when the pair where serving overseas in Germany, but they quickly drew the eyes of some for their relationship upon returning to the states. Their union was looked down upon as Dorothy, is a white woman, and Charles, a black man.
While raising Jeter, the couple tried to protect their son from the disdain and prejudice they experienced. Upon all their best efforts, Jeter was always exposed to insidious kinds of racism.
“Since I was very young I’d have so many people staring at me,” Jeter said. “My parents did a great job of sitting us down and saying, ‘Look you’re gonna get looks, people are going to treat you different, you’re gonna deal with racism, you’re gonna deal with prejudice … but you learn how to deal with it.”
He faced more acts of racism later when he visit Kalamazoo during the early years of his playing career. After returning home from a short stint with the Greensboro Hornets – the Yankees low A-ball affiliate at the time – Jeter was called the n-word by a stranger as he left a local Taco Bell with a friend.
“I remember being so hurt by that,” Jeter said of the incident. “I’m so proud I’m back in Kalamazoo, right, finally made it, got drafted. And you’re like man, you know, this is a reality check.”
Jeter’s didn’t allowed the challenges to weigh him down. He made his major first-time league with the Yankees on May 29, 1995, and his manager, Buck Showalter, credited the shortstop’s resilience and laser focus to his upbringing.
“I remember how impressed I was with his mom and dad, you know, and knowing the backbone they both had to have [in] an interracial marriage,” Showalter said. “There’s so many things that challenge guys in the big leagues and so many things that challenge them in New York City. I felt that Derek had a chance to really not have that be a factor in his life because of his upbringing.”
Sure enough, Jeter ended up adapting to life in New York just fine.
“The Captain” is set to debut on ESPN at 10 p.m. on July 18, following the Home Run Derby.
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