Fox' Glazer Praised For Incognito Interview, But Were Punches Pulled?
Suspended Dolphins G Richie Incognito yesterday sat for a one-on-one recorded interview with Jay Glazer on "Fox NFL Sunday," with Glazer clarifying before the segment that he has "been friendly with Richie Incognito for about five years." Incognito admitted to leaving teammate Jonathan Martin a voicemail consisting of vulgar and racist terms, but said, "The way Jonathan and the rest of the offensive line and how our teammates, how we communicate, it's vulgar. It's not right. When the words are put in the context I understand why a lot of eyebrows get raised but people don't know how Jon and I communicate to one another." Incognito later said he exchanged text messages with Martin after Martin left the team, and agreed to disclose those messages to Glazer. The interview closed with Glazer asking what Incognito would say to Martin if he were sitting next to him. Incognito responded in part, "I think I'd give him a big hug right now because we've been through so much and I’d be like, 'Dude what’s going on? Why didn't you come to me?'" ("Fox NFL Sunday," Fox, 11/10).
GLAZE-ING OVER AN ISSUE? In N.Y., Bob Raissman writes the fact that Glazer "never asked Incognito about the Dolphins golf outing incident, where he was accused of molesting a young female volunteer with a golf club, was a glaring, miserable omission." It "definitely was a punch pulled." Glazer contended that he "raised the question but it was left on the cutting room floor." The interview "lasted 45 minutes," but Fox "aired six." Glazer let viewers know Incognito "attended his mixed martial arts cross-training program three years ago." He also told viewers Incognito "would not answer questions about coaches ordering him to 'toughen up Jonathan Martin.'" So, there was "more than a normal reporter-player relationship between Glazer and Incognito." While there was "familiarity, Glazer told Incognito there would be no pre-conditions to the interview." Glazer "never got confrontational with Incognito." He "didn't muddy the waters by picking a fight." Many of his questions "were pointed, like when he asked: 'How do you tell America, how do you expect anybody in America to believe you’re not racist?'" Incognito's people advised him not to do the interview as they "saw no upside." Glazer said, "I was working it (trying to get the interview) for days. Everything from Richie’s agent, and the people around him, was 'no, no, no.' I kept telling them the court of public opinion will close on Monday. It’s time to testify. But even when he was in the chair I was worried that he would get up and walk out" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/11). In Tampa, Tom Jones writes Glazer "scored the biggest coup of the season, landing the first in-depth interview" with Incognito. Glazer for the most part "handled the interview well." Jones: "I would have liked to have seen Glazer press Incognito on the details of that golf incident, but it's my guess that Incognito's representatives made that off-limits." If so, Glazer "should have said that." And if there "were no off-limit topics, Glazer should have reported that, too." Still, Glazer overall "did a respectable job" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/11).
RIGHT MAN FOR THE JOB? SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote of the Glazer-Incognito interview, "This wasn't a famous ex-NFL player pitching softballs to current NFL star, nor was it Oriana Fallaci grilling Henry Kissinger in 1972 on the Vietnam War. It was somewhere in the middle." Deitsch asked, "Is Glazer the ideal candidate to interview Incognito? No. I think an independent entity would have conducted a much different interview but here's the reality: I also can't see Incognito sitting down for this kind of interview with anyone else other than Glazer." Prior to the interview, Glazer said he "held nothing back" and asked Incognito "everything." Deitsch: "Did he fulfill that charter? I'd say not entirely given this viewer wanted to hear Incognito address the allegations that he harassed a woman on a golf course in 2012 during a team charity golf tournament, how often Incognito had been called into the NFL offices over the last couple of years, as well as an on-camera denial from Incognito refusing to answer questions about the role of Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland and coach Joe Philbin." But to "be fair to Glazer, the edited Incognito interview had to fit within the restrictions of an hour pregame show and you obviously can't run the interview in full on Fox NFL Sunday" (SI.com, 11/10). The N.Y. DAILY NEWS' Raissman cited sources as saying that Incognito "likely agreed to a Fox interview, which was held at an undisclosed location, because he has little use for ESPN's Adam Schefter, who broke" the story. Raissman: "That leaves another question: Will Martin now tell his side of the story to ESPN?" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 11/10).
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY: FOXSPORTS.com's Mike Garafolo cites a source as saying that Martin plans to "put out a video statement at some point in the near future, likely this week." The source said that Martin "won't get into a point-counterpoint with Incognito; rather, any statement Martin makes will be designed to explain his mindset and why he handled the situation by leaving" the Dolphins' facility. The source added that the plan is "for his videotaped segment to not feature an interviewer" (FOXSPORTS.com, 11/11). USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell wrote Incognito's "damage-control interview" with Glazer yesterday "fueled more questions about the glaring holes in the production." Incognito was "rather pathetic as he tried to explain himself amid the 'friendly fire' interview with Glazer." Bell: "You're up, Jonathan Martin. But remember, it's not about the theater of a heavily edited interview. There's an NFL investigation now" (USATODAY.com, 11/10).
TONIGHT, TONIGHT: In West Palm Beach, Hal Habib reported ESPN's request for "sit-down interviews" with Philbin, Ireland or Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill were "turned down." ESPN "MNF" Producer Jay Rothman plans to let announcers Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden "address the issues during the game as needs arise -- for example, if the Dolphins' offensive line excels or flops without starters Martin and Incognito." Otherwise, the "many unanswered questions will be addressed during about six minutes at halftime." Rothman said that it is "among the strangest situations he has covered" for "MNF," and compared it "on some levels to the return of the Saints to New Orleans" after Hurricane Katrina. Rothman: "It became more than a football game, that's for sure. ... We respect the fact that there's so much programming, each and every day on television. And not just ESPN now, but on every network. And not every sports network, but every news network. And it's all over talk radio and it's all the time. So I think it becomes a responsibility on our part that there actually are people tuning in to watch a football game" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 11/9).
JOCKS TURNED ANALYSTS NOT HELPING: The N.Y. DAILY NEWS' Raissman wrote the reactions of "former players, turned NFL TV analysts, are troubling." Even the ones "angered by Incognito’s bullying defend the 'culture' of the NFL locker room." It "does not matter if it’s Phil Simms, Herm Edwards, Tom Jackson, Bill Parcells or any other high-profile voices." They "lived it so they know -- literally -- what goes on behind closed doors." Hearing them "speak to us 'outsiders' more than suggests we are know-nothings on this subject and should mute our opinions." The majority of these analysts "scoffs at the notion the NFL promotes a hostile work environment." It will be "hard to find anyone connected with the league, including NFL analysts who are considered part of the media, who does not think the NFL runs a professional workplace." But "look how the league and its network partners have framed the sport the past few decades." They have "accelerated the notion the NFL fosters a hostile work environment" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/10).
EVERYONE HAS AN OPINION: In N.Y., Bart Hubbuch noted Dolphins CB Brent Grimes on Saturday after practice "smiled and shook his head in frustration at not being able to turn on his TV without hearing about the controversy." Grimes said, "Man, you can't escape it! I was trying to watch Comedy Central the other night, and even they had something on this (junk)" (N.Y. POST, 11/10). SPORTS ON EARTH's Jeb Lund wrote S.F.-based KNBR-AM host Damon Bruce "is a troll." In the "process of defending (!) violent sociopathic stooge Richie Incognito, Bruce expressed his belief that women and woman-think have progressively wussified sports." Now, anyone "riffing on sports for four hours every day will slip up." But Bruce's "nine minutes of consistent argument were not an accident." Nor was his "issuing a non-apology apology that changed the terms of his argument while doubling down on it and cackling that all his critics walked into an argumentative puppetmaster trap" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 11/9).