Derek Jeter Still Has to Deny Those Gift-Basket Rumors

By
The Players' Tribune Launch Roundtable
"It's a dumb story. And you really have to be dumber to believe it. But they believe it."Photo: Leon Bennett/Getty Images

In 2011, the New York Post ran the most memorable gossip item of Derek Jeter’s long playing career. The paper claimed that, according to “a pal,” Jeter would give gift baskets of autographed memorablia to women he slept with, and only got caught when “he mistakenly pulled the stunt twice on the same woman — forgetting she had been an earlier conquest.” For a long time, Jeter wouldn’t even dignify the story with a response, but last year, he denied it to New York’s Chris Smith: “Like I’m giving them signed baseballs and pictures of myself on the way out! Who comes up with a story like that?” But one denial isn’t enough for such a perfect gossip item, and in an interview with Joe Buck yesterday, Jeter again tried to set the record straight.

After telling Buck that it’s not true that he would have guests to his apartment check their cell phones upon entering, Jeter brought up the infamous gift-basket rumor: “It’s a dumb story. And you really have to be dumber to believe it. But they believe it.”

Jeter’s been the subject of plenty of rumors, but this one especially seems to have annoyed him. From Smith’s piece in New York last September:

He learned that often the best way to deflate a story is to ignore it. The Post once claimed that after sleeping with women, Jeter would leave a gift basket of signed memorabilia in the car taking the “conquest” home. He’s avoided commenting on the item for three years. But he’s still annoyed. “Like I’m giving them signed baseballs and pictures of myself on the way out! Who comes up with a story like that?” He laughs, incredulous. “It said the reason people found out was because I gave the same girl the same basket and I had forgotten I’d given her one—like there are so many people coming through I forgot!” Even if Jeter were cheesy enough to have handed out souvenirs, he’s far too careful to have made that kind of mistake.

Indeed, Jeter explained to Buck why he doesn’t like to comment on stories like this: “I don’t address them because — well, I guess I just did — but because once you address it, you have to address every single rumor that comes out and then if one time if you don’t, they automatically assume it’s true. So I just chose not to address any rumors out there, but that’s gotta be the dumbest one I’ve heard.”