In ‘The Captain’ Doc, Jeter Recalls Incidents of Racism in Kalamazoo
The new ESPN documentary series on the life of Derek Jeter, "The Captain", debuts this Monday evening and much of the focus of the first episode is on Jeter growing up in Kalamazoo, the child of bi-racial parents. And it appears Jeter, maybe for one of the first times lets his guard down and lets viewers see behind the public persona.
“Since I was very young I’d have so many people staring at me. 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.” - Derek Jeter on how his parents tried to prepare him for racism and prejudice when he was growing up.
The New York Post has a story today ahead of the debut of "The Captain", and it quotes Jeter in the documentary telling the story of coming home to Kalamazoo after his first season in the minor leagues. He and a friend stopped at a fast-food restaurant and a stranger called Jeter the "n-word".
“I remember being so hurt by that.. 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 first manager with the New York Yankees, Buck Showalter, says in the documentary he credits Jeter's parents and his upbringing with giving him the tools and strength to deal with the racism and in being able to deal with the New York City lifestyle and the media.