Fox News host Gretchen Carlson asked her audience on Friday to write in with their tributes to professional athletes who also serve as good role models off the playing field. She didn’t have to look far to provide her own examples.
After reading tweets from viewers who highlighted basketball superstar Kevin Durant and former football player and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, among others, Carlson paid homage to two of her favorite athletic idols — one who inspired her as a child and another who helped subsidize her as an adult.
There was former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton, who, Carlson said, agreed to sign an autograph for “the chubby little girl with the piggtails.”
“And that was me,” Carlson, a Minnesota native, said.
Carlson lamented that there are now “fewer pro athletes’ autographs I want or, for that matter, I want my kids to want.” She then spotlighted one notable exception, a certain retiring New York Yankees great who’s no doubt had a positive impact on Carlson’s family.
“But there’s one role model who’s had an amazing career on the field while always being an upstanding person,” Carlson said. “Call me biased — my husband represents Derek Jeter — or just call it like it is: a player who’s earned the respect of fans from coast-to-cost, keeping the hope alive that good sports role models do exist.”
Carlson’s husband, Casey Close, has represented Jeter since the future Hall of Famer was 18. His company, Excel Sports Management, is a behemoth in the world of sports business.
According to USA Today, Excel Sports Management negotiated $700 million in baseball contracts, a record offseason total in the sport, while Close alone raked in $28 million for the company in the span of just three months.
“I told him I need a loan,” Jeter said, as quoted by the newspaper earlier this year. “He’s done a great job. But the thing about Casey is that he’s not someone who goes around flaunting that he negotiated all of these contracts. Casey understands that he has a job to do, and it’s not about him. It’s about doing what’s best for his clients. He’s always been that way.”