The Man In The Middle
Fox Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer opens up about his Richie Incognito interview, addressing his methodology in determining questions, answering his many critics and revealing his original plan included a joint sit-down with Jonathan Martin
Jay Glazer’s exclusive sit-down interview with Richie Incognito last week was, in Glazer’s world, as big an interview get as we’ve seen this year in the NFL.
Before the interview, Glazer said he “held nothing back” and asked Incognito “everything.” Did he fulfill that charter? Peter King thought Glazer handled the interview well, Deadspin called the segment “more theater than journalism” and you can read my review for SI.com here. The initial interview that aired on FOX NFL Sunday lasted about six minutes. There have been nearly 15 minutes of the interview since released on FOX Sports Live and FOX Football Daily. The complete transcript and video can be found here.
On Monday, I caught up with Glazer because I think viewers and readers can benefit from Glazer’s answering why he made some of the choices he made on questions, and to further expand on his relationship with Incongito. As he always does, Glazer answered every question asked of him.
It’s 7:45 p.m. on Monday right now as we talk….
I’m f—– tired.
I’m sure you are. I want to start off with this: What has been the biggest misconception from this interview?
By far, there were absolutely zero restrictions going in. Nothing, okay. He never asked for one. I never asked him. In fact I told him straight out going into this: There is nothing that is off-limits. He said, I hear you. And I said, “No, no, no, I am telling you, there is nothing that is off-limits because I don’t want you getting up after one or two questions and storming out. I am just letting you know.” The last thing I want is a four-second interview on FOX NFL Sunday. He said, “Jay, if you held back and didn’t ask me, I would just have to answer it somewhere else. I’d rather you ask it.” I said Great. So I didn’t give him any questions [ahead of time]. There was no deal. In fact, his agent was against [the interview]. I have been working this, man, since he got suspended.
So how would you define the ground rules for this interview?
Zero. There were absolutely zero ground rules. Nothing. There were certain things I felt I should ask. There were certain things I felt I shouldn’t … Look, I knew going in the main things I wanted to hit were number one, the use of the n-word. I don’t care whether you say it is acceptable or not in locker rooms or anywhere else, I don’t think anyone either white or black should ever use the word. And I’m not on my high horse here. I hate the word. I think it should be completely out of the language, and the fact that it is used more and more today absolutely disgusts me. I can’t stand it. I think it’s awful our kids are growing up in a society where it is more and more acceptable. I hate to think that when my kid gets older, this will be part of the language.
I wanted to get bullying in. Like I said in the interview, whether he wants to think it or not, this guy is now labeled as the face of bullying in America. He is America’s bully. Number three, I wanted to get what happened with those guys and what the relationship was. What happened that day? I wanted to make sure I got the biggest controversies in this issue and especially the social part, the hazing. I wanted to hit all that. The controversies transcended sports. Then I wanted to make sure also that I did hammer him. I didn’t say, “Hey, are you a racist?” No, I said, “How do you expect me or anyone else to believe you are not?”
How was the setting [the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in L.A.] for the interview determined?
FOX set it up. I said I got the interview and the producers [Joel Santos and Bill Richards] set it up, which is normal. I saw some people said that it took place at his agent’s house or my house. Shoot, I wish that was my house. Are you kidding me? I wasn’t confident I absolutely had this interview until Saturday. I’m telling you, so much went into this. What I said to him was the court of public opinion closes on Monday. You want to testify or not? I’d want to. But come Monday, Richie, nobody is going to care what you have to say. It will be too late. This is what I would do. And I relayed a story that Ronde Barber told me. He said, I wish my brother [Tiki] had spoken up when he was getting crushed. I wish he defended himself in public. Because he didn’t, it was hard for me and the rest of my family to defend him as much as we wanted. I relayed that story to [Richie]. Whether you believe Richie or not, I want to hear from Richie Incognito. I want to hear from Jonathan Martin. Those are the only two guys who really know the story. Nobody else knows the story. I don’t care who has jumped in with opinions and that’s the problem with this whole thing. I broke this on FOX Football Daily originally, and I started hearing immediately from Jonathan’s people, from other players in that locker room, from people inside the Dolphins, from ex-Dolphins. I started getting all sides, but I did not want to jump out because I want to make sure I report facts. This story became so hot that anything you got, people put out there and it got taken to an extreme. It got lost in the fact that maybe this story is somewhere in the middle or maybe there are three sides. People got on this so fast and I see why because you are dealing with the n-word, you are dealing with bullying—it is hard not to get angry about it. I don’t blame people.
How was Incognito’s mood before the interview?
I tried to loosen him up a little bit. When he walked in he was nervous and stiff. I am used to being around him when he is not like that. He was really stiff and nervous and I would say kind of sullen. His head was down. You know me and my mouth. I said, “Man, with all that paparazzi [greeting him at the airport] you are like the Lindsay Lohan of football now.” He kind of looked at me like, Yeah, great, thanks.
You told the audience at the top of the interview that you have a relationship with Richie and had your people train him a couple of years ago as part of your work as a mixed martial arts trainer. Why were you the right person for this interview?
Because that is what I do. This is what I have done for how long? I get scoops. I get exclusives. This is what I do for a living, and I think I do it well. I think this is why FOX pays me. My job is to get scoops and exclusives, and I think I have done it as well as anybody. So it [relationships] has obviously not gotten in the way. I have come out with negative stories. I have come out with positive stories. I have come out with stuff where my own guys get really angry at me. The funny thing is, I am working with Brian Urlacher now (on FOX Sports 1). He got really pissed off with me with three years left in his career because I reported something about a back injury he had that he did not want out there. He never told me another piece of information ever again. People don’t know about that. I had to tell people he was not playing and was not himself. He didn’t say Don’t go with it. He just said I am not talking about it. But I had it. He was one of my closest friends in the league and his last three or four years I never got a piece of information from him. He was pissed about it.
It does not get in the way of what I do. People are like, Oh, my God, Jay has a relationship with Richie. I have a relationship with, like, 900 people in this league. That is my job. Adam Schefter, Peter King—you don’t think Peter King has relationships with people in this league? We all have relationships. That is what we do. We are in the relationship business. But nobody talks about that, and I have talked about it. People keep bringing it up with me when nobody brings it up with everybody else who has written books [with subjects].
You have always been public about these relationships, that’s fair…
Wait, let me tell you this too. Richie Incognito never, ever paid me a dime. The guy I set him up with was a fighter named Tyron Woodley, who by the way is an African-American UFC fighter. He is fighting this weekend. That is who I paired with Richie. Richie paid him. I never got a dime.
So let’s be specific here. You would say that training NFL players in MMA is not on face an economic partnership?
No, because I didn’t get paid. How is it an economic partnership? There are no economics involved. There is no money. How is it an economic partnership? He [Incognito] pays his trainer, this guy Tyron Woodley. I do not make a dime and never have. He does not pay me anything. Some guys get charged. Some guys don’t. The money goes to the fighters and the equipment. None of it goes to me. … These guys come out to train, and I have a great training program. I make either the players pay the fighters directly or if they pay MMA Athletics, I pay the fighters directly or I will use it for travel for the fighters or the equipment. But no, I have never, ever, ever made a dime off this. I have probably lost money. I do it because I love it. I don’t do it to make money. I do it because I try to promote this sport. … I have always been involved with it. I love mixed martial arts. I love it. It is my passion. It is what I love to do. Some people like to play chess or checkers to blow off steam. I like to fight. I like martial arts.