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On Reflection: Jay Glazer's Interview with Richie Incognito | The Nation

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Dave Zirin

Dave Zirin

Where sports and politics collide.

On Reflection: Jay Glazer's Interview with Richie Incognito




Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito (left) and tackle Jonathan Martin (right)

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer landed the interview everyone wanted when he sat down with Richie Incognito on Fox Sports Sunday. Upon seeing the interview I was angered and disgusted. But I also now realize I did not in fact see the whole interview, which aired Monday in its entirety. Having now spoken with Jay Glazer and others involved in this story, I want to be honest and straight up about both.

First and most obviously, I was wrong in thinking that what was shown on Fox Sports NFL Sunday pregame show was the entire interview. The heart of my critique involved all the questions that I believed went unasked, as well as the choppy editing and quick cuts that made it appear as if the interview was sculpted to put Incognito in the best possible light. In fact many of the questions I took Jay Glazer to task for not asking, he did in fact ask. Glazer, when you see the full interview, asked in a tougher tone about Incognito's racism, asked more about the bullying and how far it extended, and asked whether the coaches "ordered the code red". These questions are important. They also ended up on the initial cutting room floor, as I saw last night on Fox Sports. I maintain, given the importance of this story, that Fox did us all a disservice by not being brave and just saying “heck with the pre-game show. Let’s show this interview to the widest possible audience.” But they didn’t and that is not on Jay Glazer. (Glazer it is worth noting, disagrees with me about this, saying that they have "a responsibility to all the NFL fans who don't care about this story." I think the story is big enough that they should have just gone for it.)

Second, I wrote in my piece that Jay Glazer was wrong to do this interview because he had, as reported elsewhere, an “existing personal and financial relationship” with Incognito. This is not in fact the case. I spoke to Jay Glazer, did my own research and determined that while Incognito did at one time train in the Mixed Martial Arts Studio, co-run by Glazer, he never, ever paid Glazer to train there. There is a strong case to be made that by allowing big time NFL athletes to train there for free, it improves the brand of the facility and inspires more people to sign up for its $5,000 per month training progream. Glazer says that whatever money goes in, it goes to the trainers and he "doesn't make a dime." However it operates, people should stop saying that Incognito and Glazer were “business partners” because it is just not true. (I did make an effort to confirm or deny all of this before my piece went to print but did not hear back.)

Now for the critiques I maintain. In any interview, especially on very complicated topics, you never get every question you want asked but I thought Jay Glazer himself set a very high bar when he tweeted, “I held nothing back, asked him everything.”

But Jay Glazer did not ask Richie Incognito about accusations of sexual assault made against him last summer. Speaking to Glazer he said he believed that to be “a separate story.” I disagree because it speaks not only to Incognito’s character but also how the team could see someone accused of any act of sexual violence as an elected “leader” in that locker room.

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Glazer also gave  Richie Incognito a platform to say that Jonathan Martin sent him a text that said, “I am going to kill your whole family.” Neither Glazer nor Incognito told the audience that this was actually a forwarded piece of kitschy digital art complete with cute pet and smiling person. This was important because without that, it came off as a very one-sided attack on Martin’s character, an attack that looked even worse when Martin’s lawyer released the actual text.

These are my criticisms and I stand by them. We need to hold those covering this story to the highest possible standard – myself included – because I truly believe that the issues raised by this story have provoked the most important discussion on sports, race, and manhood we have seen in years. But my harsh judgment of Jay Glazer’s journalistic chops in terms of the questions asked and his personal relationship with Incognito were both over the top.

 

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