Danica Patrick Joins Derek Jeter's Players' Tribune, Opens Up About Relationship

Danica Patrick ESPY Awards - H 2014
AP Images

Danica Patrick ESPY Awards - H 2014

The NASCAR driver joins Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and the recently retired Yankee as athletes contributing to the Legendary Entertainment-backed startup

NASCAR driver Danica Patrick has joined Derek Jeter's online athlete community The Players Tribune as the digital startup's second senior editor.

Patrick is the first female athlete to be announced as a regular contributor to the Legendary Entertainment-backed all-access sports website. Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson joined as a senior editor last week.

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While Wilson wrote about his past as a bully and the NFL's domestic-violence scandal, Patrick's piece is lighter, with the driver opening up about how she navigates her relationship with boyfriend/competitor Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

"This is a great opportunity to showcase my own voice and opinions,” Patrick said in a statement about why she wanted to join The Players' Tribune. “In the past when I’ve read stories about me, they don’t always capture who I am, what I think, what I feel. Here’s my chance to really give people a sense of my personality.”

In her first contribution to The Players' Tribune, Patrick writes about the challenges of dating someone you're also competing against.

"Look, if it’s crazy to want to go to sleep next to the person who ran your car off the road going 200 miles per hour earlier that day, then I’m certifiable," she writes. "Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is a balls-to-the wall, go-hard-or-go-home, lift-only-when-you-see-God-twice kind of NASCAR driver. He’s Ford. I’m Chevy. It’s the Montagues and the Capulets. He’s grits. I’m granola. We’re the opposite in almost every way. He’s also extremely cuddly, which really helps his cause, because sometimes I’m not very happy with him."

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In keeping with The Players' Tribune's mission of allowing athletes to present their stories without worrying about being misconstrued by the media, Patrick calls out sports media for not being able to grasp her complex relationship with Stenhouse.

"The sports media prefers simple narratives: Good vs. Evil. Teammates vs. Enemies. NASCAR can be a lot more complicated," she writes.

She also takes on her critics, writing, "Some people will ask, why date another driver? Why add that layer of scrutiny? How does that work? My answer is simple: Everyone deserves to be happy. You don’t get to choose what truly makes you happy, and we’re not the first couple to navigate the workplace romance waters … More than anything, being happy makes me a better racecar driver."

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Jeter launched The Players' Tribune as a way for athletes to connect directly with their fans.

The digital venture, on which Jeter partnered with and is receiving capital and creative support from Legendary Entertainment, is intended to become an online community of athletes where players can share videos, podcasts, photo galleries, polls and more, covering everything from sports commentary to lifestyle and popular culture.

“The Players’ Tribune is a platform for athletes to tell their unfiltered stories,” editorial director Gary Hoenig said in a statement on Thursday announcing that Patrick had joined the team. “They can discuss whatever they want. The common denominator is content will always be fresh and direct from the source.”