Whenever disputes and controversies arise in sports, fans get most of their information from conventional media and social media.   They generally are not privy to inside first-person accounts in which the content is unedited.

Horse racing fans, for example, got only a glimpse of jockey Mike Smith’s displeasure over the notorious start of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic and on how he feels deep down about the stewards’ non-ruling.

The concept of providing athletes’ unvarnished views directly to fans is the raison d’etre for Derek Jeter’s unique new website “The Players’ Tribune.”   The recently retired New York Yankee shortstop wanted to have “a place where athletes have the tools they need to share what they really think and feel…  with no filter.”  Jeter says, “I do think fans deserve more than ‘no comments’ or ‘I don’t knows’’”

To illustrate, The Players’ Tribune is the forum that golfer Tiger Woods used to publish a lengthy and scathing rebuttal to an article about him in Golf Digest.  A sampling of Woods’ blunt words demonstrate Jeter’s no-holds-barred approach:  “Did you read Dan Jenkins’ interview with me in the latest Golf Digest?  I hope not.   Because it wasn’t me.   It was some jerk he created to pretend he was talking to me.  That’s right, Jenkins faked an interview, which fails as parody, and is really more like a grudge-fueled piece of character assassination.  Journalistically and ethically, can you sink any lower?”

Such candor by sports insiders has the potential to build a closer bond with fans, to generate interest in a sport, and to call attention to things that need changing.

Horse racing might be able to benefit from a forum like The Players’ Tribune, especially during the Triple Crown season and in the weeks before and after the Breeders’ Cup.

Copyright © 2014 Horse Racing Business