CHICAGO -- Yankees captain Derek Jeter shrugged off an ESPN commentator's suggestion on Wednesday that his performance this season may have received artificial assistance, calling the statements "unfortunate."
ESPN voice Skip Bayless insinuated on the "First Take" program that Jeter may not be completely clean, saying that he has been "shocked" by the 38-year-old's production and that he "would have to be sight and hearing impaired not to wonder" how Jeter has done it.
"How could I not wonder, 'Is he using something?'" Bayless said. "If you're Derek Jeter, would you think about using HGH right now? Because I would. How would you not? Would you not think about it?"
Jeter had not heard Bayless' comments but laughed out loud when they were relayed by reporters before Wednesday's game against the White Sox.
"What do you want me to say?" Jeter said at U.S. Cellular Field. "I ain't getting involved with this, man. You can say whatever you want to say now, huh? There's no repercussions.
"That's the unfortunate thing, you know what I'm saying? Whenever you have people that any time you bring something like this to light with guys that are doing things, it's like, now you have everybody questioning everything. That's the unfortunate thing. Maybe Skip should be tested."
Jeter has long been a vocal opponent of performance-enhancing drug use, and his father, Charles, is a substance-abuse counselor. In 2009, as the Yankees reacted to Alex Rodriguez's admission to performance-enhancing drug use, Jeter flatly denied using steroids or any performance-enhancing drugs during his career.
On Wednesday, Bayless' suggestion was challenged by co-host Stephen A. Smith, and Bayless later acknowledged that he actually has no knowledge of Jeter's regimen.
"I am not saying he uses a thing; I have no idea," Bayless said. "But within the confines of his sport, it is fair for all of us. In fact, you're remiss if you don't at least think about this."