Jeff Pearlman

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The Jay Glazer Rules

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So I was skimming through old newspapers earlier this evening when I stumbled upon a recent New York Times profile of Jay Glazer, a well-known NFL reporter for Fox Sports.

I certainly know of Glazer, though I probably wouldn’t recognize him were he to knock on my door. He’s been around quite a while; one of those loud TV guys who yells and barks to add emphasis to his points. I’ve never heard anything especially bad or good about the man, primarily because the modern-day NFL isn’t my turf.

The Times story, however, turned my stomach.

When he’s not reporting on NFL players and teams, Glazer, ahem, works for NFL players and teams. Literally. He is a mixed martial arts trainer whose clients include two franchises (the Falcons and Rams) and, apparently, dozens of players, ranging from Ryan Grant to Patrick Willis to Matt Leinart. As in, they pay him for his services.

This, journalistically, is a joke. An embarrassing, pathetic, worst-of-its-kind joke.

When I started at Sports Illustrated in 1996, the editor, Bill Colson, had a policy: You were to receive no gifts/handouts from teams/players/etc that valued in excess of $10. Many of us (myself included) took it a step further: We accepted nothing. Absolutely nothing. When, say, the Los Angeles Dodgers passed out hats in the press box on hat day, we politely declined. Same for T-shirts and sweatbands and baseballs and footballs and, well, everything. Not because we thought we were anything special, or because we wanted to hold up some phony journalistic credo. We behaved in such a manner because we never, ever wanted a player or team to hold something over our heads. “How could you write that, when … we gave you a hat?”

Glazer, on the other hand, accepts money from the very people he’s covering. One minute he’s helping Brian Cushing become a better athlete, the next he’s supposed to be telling us all he knows about the man—warts included. As clients, these players certainly expect—and receive—a high level of confidentiality. To work out under someone’s watch is to provide him with incredible access; access you don’t want displayed to the public. So what if Glazer hears Leinart calling a hooker? What if he sees Cushing (funny example) poppin ‘roids? What if he doesn’t think Grant is an especially hard worker? Does he sleep on the information, or does he ruin his ties with the players by reporting it? The answer is obvious: He sleeps on it.

On his Twitter page, Glazer was bragging about attending Jared Allen’s recent wedding. A. If you’re covering the NFL, you don’t befriend (closely) a player, and you sure as hell don’t attend his wedding. Again, what if Jared Allen gets drunk and vomits all over the cake? What if he punches Brett Favre? What if he doesn’t show up? Do you write it? The true journalist does. A guy like Glazer almost certainly does not.

Equally shameful, of course, is Fox—yet again. This violates more journalistic standards than one can count. Even if Glazer is completely unbiased (a human impossibility), perception outweighs reality. How can anyone take his reporting seriously? How can anyone believe they’re getting the full story? All the details? And if this is the route we’re going, why even hire real reporters? Why shouldn’t the Times or Daily News place, say, Jay Horwitz on the payroll as a “Mets insider”?

Glazer told the Times he’s not trying to be a regular NFL reporter; that he’s trying to “build a brand.”

Indeed, he’s well on his way.

Suggested brand name: Phony Reporter, Inc.


PS: Important note. Some will read this and say, “You’re just jealous.” I assure you, such is not the case. I didn’t enter journalism to become a celebrity. And I loathe many of those who have. I love the craft of writing; the details of reporting; etc. The last thing I want is to be “a brand.” Ugh.

PPS: Oddly, I have nothing against this man. For all I know, he’s a wonderful person. It’s more what journalism’s becoming, and how people like Glazer ruin it for genuine reporters.

  • chris

    the thing is, he gets scoops…. probably BECAUSE he’s friens with with players & works for teams.

    let’s say he gets 10 a year & sits on another 20.
    is that better than getting none & sitting on none?

    obviously Fox thinks it is.

  • Mood

    The “scoops” he reports will be reported by someone else 12 minutes later. Useless egomaniac as far as I can tell. Great access to Lienart,though,,lol.

  • jmw

    “Integrity” seems to be a foreign word these days.

  • Gene

    Finally someone calls out Glazer on this. I have been waiting for months for someone to say something.

  • mark

    Is Glazer a “Journalist”?
    To me he seems like a TV personality. I think “Journalist” is a dying breed.

  • http://www.andaplayertobenamedlater.com/ Paul Catalano

    That is pathetic.

  • sean

    Amen, Jeff. Glazer is not a journalist.

  • Jacob

    “So what if Glazer hears Leinart calling a hooker?”

    Hookers aren’t illegal everywhere & it doesn’t have much to do with football. Is it the job of the reporter to dig up dirt about athletes’ personal lives?

    You can look at it another way. Perhaps, Jay Glazer doesn’t want to drag someone down just to get a story & make money? What about how old-time reporters handled players like Mickey Mantle? Does it bother you that a lot of his private matters were kept secret?

    Bad example:
    Let’s say you have a son. He gets a girl pregnant & gets hooked on coke. You’re talking to your friend & he asks “How’s your son?” You say “He’s doing good. He’s going to have a baby boy!” Is that wrong? No one wants to make their family look bad.

    Maybe, Jay Glazer sees certain players as family and treats them like family. I don’t have a problem with that.

    • http://www.jeffpearlman.com Jeff Pearlman

      Wow. Really? If Glazer sees certain players as family and treats them as family, that’s fine. But he should not cover the NFL. Ross Newhan’s son played in the majors. Ross refused to cover him in any way, shape or form.

  • Robert

    Jeff,

    I agree completely. I am so tired of the “jock-sniffers” (pardon the expression) who seem to have invaded the sports media space. In my opinion, media names like Wilbon, Stephen A. Smith and Glazer damage their journalistic integrity when they so blatantly befriend athletes. Glazer may be the worst example if he is a paid employee.

  • Jacob

    So, reporters & athletes aren’t allowed to be friends? Is that what this is all about?

    • http://www.jeffpearlman.com Jeff Pearlman

      No, Jacob, they aren’t. Not if the reporter is covering the player.

  • Tom

    Phenomenal post, Jeff. I’ve been waiting a long time for someone to call out Glazer and FOX on this. Another party at fault – any team who employs Glazer. They obviously aren’t employing him for his MMA acumen – he was a terrible fighter in his two pro fights. So if MMA training is something that teams truly feel helps, why would they employ a below-average fighter like Glazer and not a top fighter or trainer? What a joke.

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  • Jacob
  • http://www.19thoughts.blogspot.com Byron

    Jacob, that has to be one of the dumbest, most asinine example I’ve ever heard.

    Number one, Jay Glazer is not any of these athlete’s fathers or part of their families.

    Two, part of Jay Glazer’s job is to REPORT on the on-field and (sadly) off-field activities of these people.

    Three, the person in your example that is asking the question is (presumably) a friend or an acquaintance. You aren’t getting paid to talk that guy, Jay Glazer is getting paid to talk to us and tell us about football players.

    Ugh.

  • http://brandonsneed.com/blog Brandon Sneed

    For some reason it didn’t track back here, but I wanted to include my blog post in the conversation. I know, I know, this seems like a horrible case of self-promotion. Maybe it is a little bit.

    But in all honesty, as a young freelance journalist, things like this–defining that fine line between what makes one too close to someone he/she writes about–intrigue me. That’s basically what my blog is about. Also, it explores the difference between what’s newsworthy and what’s gossip.

    The only reason I bring it up here is because I value feedback from others more knowledgeable than myself. So if you don’t mind, click on my name to link to my blog and sound off.

    Thanks a ton. Sorry again for the unabashed blog promotion. But seriously, just want to hear others’ thoughts.

  • Jacob

    Byron, but wouldn’t the world be a better place, if everyone treated each other like family?

    • Bill

      Not the point at all, and not at all related tot he job of a journalist. By that logic, all police should treat criminals like family, and so on. Life does not work that way.

  • Jacob

    Here’s a theory:

    The whole “journalistic standards” concept is just a way of rationalizing the fact that most reporters are just money-hungry vultures. They don’t care, if they drag a player down when he “gets drunk and vomits all over the cake”. In fact, they describe themselves as “genuine” because of it.

    **I’ve never heard of Jay Glazer, until I read this post.

  • http://www.19thoughts.blogspot.com Byron

    Jacob, no. It wouldn’t be ok if we treated everyone like family.

    Like it or not, newspapers and reporters have a right to tell the public the real truth. Sometimes there are warts on that truth, but that’s how things are exposed and dealt with.

    Should a reporter have kept quiet about the NBA referee scandal? How about Woodward and Bernstein, should they have said nothing about Daddy Nixon’s Watergate scandal?

    The problem we have is that when reporters tell us bad news, we tend to think that they’re “piling on” and “being mean”. They’re not. In life there is good news and bad news and we should all be adult enough to take the good with the bad.

    There are times when some reporters do try to stir up a hornet’s nest, but we’re all savvy enough to see when that occurs, right?

    Journalistic standards/ethics are not a rationalization. It’s a code of how a profession should act. There are a lot of things that I don’t see eye-to-eye with Jeff Pearlman, but he does follow these ethics pretty well. It would behoove all of the reporters that we read/watch to follow them as well.

  • Jacob

    Um, I wouldn’t let a family member slide on the NBA referee scandal. I’ve never heard of Woodward and Bernstein or Daddy Nixon’s Watergate scandal.

    But, something like getting drunk at a party, I’d probably keep that to myself. I see your point though. If I was an athlete, I wouldn’t talk to you guys. 😀

  • shad

    it’s time to evolve jeff. you keep saying that ‘real reporters’ would report on someone’s sexual habits, or perceived laziness, or drunken behavior. that’s tmz reporting jeff. that’s not ‘real’ reporting. real reporting is off-season workouts, or fights at practice, or if someone is struggling to pick up the blitz due to a heavy heart from a family tragedy.. that’s reporting. sounds to me like you’ve been reading too many tabloids and think that’s what reporting is.

  • Bob

    Wow! All of a sudden Pearlman is a moral guide? This hack sold his own alma mater down the river, exploits broke black athletes for the sake of a “feel good story”,yet has the nerve to attack Glazer. Jealous I presume? I got an idea, how about article about the recent Delaware vs Delaware State football game that you asked for and was ohhh so exciting.

  • http://www.19thoughts.blogspot.com Byron

    So where do you draw the line?

    You do see the danger of saying that writer shouldn’t write about one thing, while reporters should write/report on other things.

  • Jacob

    God forbid we don’t hear about how Derek Jeter was at some club the night before a game! Oh, no!

  • rcicack

    Dude, how irresponsible are you? You put into your column “So what if Glazer hears Leinart calling a hooker? What if he sees Cushing (funny example) poppin ‘roids?”. Those are really bad examples that should never come from someone trying to preach about the sanctity of journalism. You are a farce! Get over your self and your “journalist are special” complex.

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Once again, Jeff Pearlman has produced an exhaustively researched, elegantly written book that re-creates one of the most colorful and memorable teams of the modern era. No basketball fan's bookshelf will be complete without it.

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