Derek Jeter has just been named as the SI 2009 Sportsman of the Year. I will submit that he is a worth candidate and is the captain of the team that won the World Series, he is the ultimate team player, his numbers are either holding steady or are better now at an advanced age then when he was in his prime which is remarkable PLUS he is a very likeable figure. All that said I do not think that he should have been given this award. Perhaps it is more of a "lifetime achievement award" but even still I think there were some more deserving people.
Tim Tebow is one that comes to mind. He has the Heisman, he has the National Championships he has the looks the leadership and that is just what he does on the football field. When you add onto all that with his humanitarian work and everything he does and has done off the field it is hard to saw that he is not deserving of the award. The fact that there are questions about how he will be as a pro should have been a factor as well. This may be the only time where he will be in a position to win the award and that is now gone.
My vote would have gone to Jimmie Johnson. He has done what no one has ever done in the history of NASCAR winning 4 consecutive Championships. He is doing something that in any other sport would be deemed as super-human and the coverage is weak and the fact that he was overlooked as SI’s Sportsman of the Year is just another bit of proof that there is a double standard. Maybe it is because he is only part of the equation and technology is a big part of it. I find that a weak explanation or excuse, it is a team sport where he uses what he is given, the car is only a small part of what makes him so great. I am guessing that the voters have held his sport against him. When you are at the top of the mountain and not getting the respect that should come with it must be at least a little frustrating. Guess the millions of dollars and the trophies and the super attractive wife make up for that.
Other people that were in consideration were Manny Pacquiao, Kobe Bryant, Usain Bolt and Roger Federer. All these guys deserve to be in the conversation but just didn’t have enough to take the title.
With all that Tiger Woods did over this past year he very well could have been in this list. Imagine if he had won and was going to be honored at the awards night and on the cover after what has gone down regarding himself his wife and his very secretive car accident. That could have made for a very awkward situation for all involved.