Jay Glazer of Fox Sports landed an interview with Richie Incognito, and landed himself right in the middle of the controversy.
He’s under attack for how that interview came about and how he conducted it. And while Glazer deserves some of that criticism, he doesn’t deserve all of it.
The Incognito-Jonathan Martin story has blown up almost beyond belief, and Glazer got what everyone wanted — an interview with the man he said has “become the face of bullying in America.”
For his part, Incognito put on a great face during the 45-minute interview, which was cut down to about 10 minutes for Fox’s Sunday NFL shows (with more clips released Monday). He was calm. He admitted mistakes. He sounded sincere.
Incognito is obviously coachable, because he showed all the sings of media coaching. Glazer, who doubles as a mixed martial arts trainer, has come under fire because he did the interview despite the fact that he had trained Incognito in MMA workouts and had a relationship with him.
Deadspin called the interview an “[expletive] joke.” The Nation called it “sports journalism at its worst.”
Hey, I’ve seen far worse among sports “journalists” who cheer for or against teams. And the fact is that all of us trade on our relationships with people to get interviews. We cultivate publicists and sources.
We don’t have “financial and personal relationships with them,” which Glazer acknowledged on air. And, yes, that does cross the line. But it’s difficult to believe Incognito would have done an interview unless he felt comfortable with the interviewer.
Was Glazer the perfect person to conduct the interview? No. Was there value to the interview? Yes.
Was it worth having Glazer do the interview? Absolutely.
But there were some major problems with what we saw on Fox’s Sunday shows and more clips released since then.
To his credit, Glazer pressed Incognito on his use of the n-word. “How do you expect anyone to believe you’re not a racist?” he asked.
But Glazer also allowed Incognito to go unchallenged when he essentially blamed everyone in the Dolphins locker room but himself — including Martin.
“If Jon would have came to me once,” Incognito said, “or if one of our other teammates would have come to me once and said, ‘Listen, lay off Jon. He’s had enough of it. It’s been too much,’ I would have been the first person not only to change myself, but to change people around me,”
The worst thing was what wasn’t asked. Glazer failed to raise the allegations that Incognito sexually harassed a woman during a Dolphins golf event in 2012. And he defended his failure on Twitter: “For all asking about golf course incident that’s a different story to cover that has nothing to do [with] Martin. Separate scoop to get.”
That’s baloney. The allegations speak directly to who Incognito is. And this story rests squarely on Incognito’s character.
Don’t forget, Glazer allowed a guy who throws the n-word around to say, “I am not a racist.” To say, “My actions were coming from a place of love.” To say, “I’m a good person.”
So to say that the allegation of sexual harassment are irrelevant is ridiculous. Ignoring that part of the story just fed into the belief that Glazer’s interview was more of a puff piece than it actually was.
Scott D. Pierce covers television for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.