Sicko Rants At Jeter

By Courtesy of The NY Daily News BY Alison Gendar
Updated: September 26, 2005
Derek Jeter
Derek Jeter

Yankee captain latest on list of black men targeted by racist mail

NEW YORK, NY—A poison-pen racist being hunted for threatening dozens of prominent African-American men because of their interracial marriages has added Yankees captain Derek Jeter to the hate list, the Daily News has learned.

The letter, mailed to the superstar shortstop at Yankee Stadium, called Jeter a “traitor to his race” for dating white women.

It warned the 31-year-old heartthrob to “stop or he’ll be shot or set on fire,” a law enforcement source said.

Other letters written by the racist have threatened to “castrate” and “burn” Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, among other notables.

“The wording is very similar to letters that have been sent to other prominent people across the country,” said Special Agent Scott Wilson of the FBI in Cleveland, which is investigating the case.

The NYPD hate crimes unit is also probing the letter, which came to light as Jeter told “60 Minutes” he’s experienced the scourge of racism before.

Jeter, whose father is black and mother is white, said he and his sister were taunted for being biracial while growing up.

Even more hurtful was being pelted with the N word when he returned to Kalamazoo, Mich., for a 1992 homecoming celebration after he was picked by the Yankees in the baseball draft.

“It was disappointing because I was very proud of the fact of what I was able to do, you know, I am living my dream, come back, see my friends for the first time, and … you still had to deal with ignorance,” he said.

“That stayed with you?” interviewer Ed Bradley asked.

“Oh, yeah, just because of the moment,” Jeter replied. “You know, it’s not the first time that I heard it. It’s just – I was so proud. It was just the first day back home.”

Still, Jeter told the show, he’s never heard the N word from fans in the stands during his 11 seasons as one of New York’s most popular athletes.

Jeter, known nearly as much for his good looks as his baseball prowess, has been linked with a bevy of models, actresses, singers and athletes of various races and ethnicities.

Among his reported gal pals have been singer Mariah Carey, Miss Universe Lara Dutta and actresses Jordana Brewster, Jessica Alba, Stacy Lynn Spierer and Scarlett Johansson.

A spokesman for Jeter did not return calls for comment about the racist letter, which was sent earlier this season.

Investigators believe the hatemonger has mailed more than 80 threatening letters to jurists, athletes, entertainers and even ordinary people over the past three years.

“The letters are twisted, the sign of a sick obsession,” another law enforcement source said.

Thomas and his wife, Virginia, have gotten the letters, as have married actors Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel, Miami Dolphin player Jason Taylor and tennis star James Blake’s parents.

In the case of Diggs and Menzel, letters threatened to burn down the Gershwin Theater when she starred in the musical “Wicked” last year.

Investigators said some of the notes tried to paint the author as a black woman angry at black men for dating white women.

“But that seemed to be part of the disguise. More likely the author is a white male,” a third law enforcement source said.

Investigators are trying to develop a profile of the author based on similar language, typeface and spelling in the letters.

The letter writer is believed to live in the Midwest because many of the notes have been postmarked out of Canton, Ohio.

Others threatened by poison pen

The feds believe a racist letter writer who hates interracial couples has also targeted these couples:

  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia.

  • Married actors Taye Diggs and Idina Menzel. Last year, the writer threatened to burn down the Gershwin Theater, where Menzel was staring in the musical “Wicked.”

  • Betty and Thomas Blake, parents of tennis star James Blake. “They were offensive, hateful letters from someone who is very sick,” Betty Blake told the Daily News in January, shortly after her husband passed away.

  • Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor, whose father is black. The athlete’s mother and wife are white.