Fox Sport's Jay Glazer is one of the best NFL reporters in the business - he breaks stories about the latest trade or controversy with regularity. But his success is due, at least in part, to his questionable journalistic approach: he's close friends with many of the players and coaches he covers.
MIKE PESCA: Coming up, a FOX sports reporter goes gambling with Jared the Subway guy. Intrigued? Keep listening anyway. This is On the Media from NPR.
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MIKE PESCA: This is On the Media. I'm Mike Pesca. You may have noticed I'm not Bob Garfield, nor am I Brooke Gladstone, the regular hosts of On the Media. And not only am I not them, I'm also not like them. Among the differences, the fact that I like sports. It is true. Bob Garfield is also a sports fan, but only a fan. For me, these things go a little deeper. I am NPR’s sports reporter. So I will beg Brooke Gladstone’s indulgence by taking her show a little outside its normal comfort zone and into – the end zone. [SINGS] Bum, bum, bum, bum, ba-dum! One of the more fascinating reporters working today in any field is FOX Sports NFL reporter Jay Glazer. Glazer seems to have a closer relationship with players than you'd think a reporter who never played the game could have. For example, he trains Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart in the mixed martial arts. He also stars in Subway commercials with his pal, former Giants star Michael Strahan. Glazer revels in his unconventionality and he likes to point to the fact that he is the league leader in scoops. One of Glazer’s biggest gets was obtaining the videotapes at the center of “Spygate.” That’s the name given to the incident where the New England Patriots videotaped the signals of opposing teams, a violation of NFL policy for which the Patriots were ultimately punished. When Glazer revealed that he had a copy of the tapes that the Patriots themselves claimed to have destroyed, the sports world went nuts.
JAY GLAZER: Reporters all over the country were reporting on how I may have gotten the story, who may have given it to me, how this could have happened, where I could have gotten the tapes from, and yet to this day nobody has an ounce of a clue of where I have gotten those tapes from.
MIKE PESCA: When you say nobody, in journalism, in most newspapers, when a reporter has an anonymous source he has to at least tell one editor. Woodward and Bernstein -
JAY GLAZER: Yep.
MIKE PESCA: - told their editor who Deep Throat was. As I understand it, you never ever told a boss at FOX Sports where you got that tape?
JAY GLAZER: Nope. The difference is I physically have the tape in my hand. I will go to my grave and nobody will ever have any idea where I got these tapes from.
MIKE PESCA: I think it’s fair to say that you’re friendly or friends with some current NFL players. Is the relationship, at least partly, a means to an end? Are you training Matt Leinart because you'd like to see him become a better mixed martial artist or are you training him, at least partially, because it gives you excellent access to the Arizona Cardinal locker room?
JAY GLAZER: Well, you know, I think that’s just an offshoot of it. I'm training him because I, I - who wouldn't love to beat the hell out of a Heisman Trophy winner? What I always tell people is because I have a great relationship with the guys, I could break chops. I can criticize. I could get after guys because I have that relationship. When you don't have a relationship, that’s where you lose your access to somebody. And, and that’s the way I look at it.
MIKE PESCA: You had a story about Brett Favre talking to Matt Millen of the Lions.
JAY GLAZER: Right.
MIKE PESCA: And you reported that story. It turned to have been accurate. Favre said it wasn't. But what you didn't do was you never called Brett Favre to get his side of the story. Tell me why not?
JAY GLAZER: Because I'm on FOX NFL Sunday, and, and I think you've seen how the Favre thing has gone down already, where every single second of the day that ESPN - Favre’s told them that he’s walking with his right foot today. Now ESPN’s reporting that he walked with his left foot. Now ESPN’s reporting that Brett has laid down. So I knew that if I called Brett, Brett would have called ESPN, and that was as simple as that. So with that said, you know, I understand it, and, and some other people said well, you should have called Brett. Yeah, I, I would love to have, but the fact that we have seen how Brett is, where he and his agent talk constantly with ESPN and the NFL network, I couldn't trust that, had I called, it wouldn't have been on ESPN before I ever went on, on FOX NFL Sunday. I couldn't have tipped my opponent’s hand.
MIKE PESCA: I know our time is short, so I'm not even going to have time to quiz you about Subway or how you like your sandwich. Well, let's just note that for some reason, sports reporters doing endorsements doesn't seem to bother anyone. Any other kind of reporter doing an endorsement, everyone gets their hackles raised. JAY GLAZER: Yeah.
MIKE PESCA: I mean, do you have any thoughts on that?
JAY GLAZER: You know, I think - again, I think I have positioned myself where I'm not just a reporter. I'm a – you know, I'm a character. You know, the Subway thing came about because I had played a bad joke on Strahan in front of the CEO and Jared from Subway in Vegas one night. I got the waitress at Tryst Nightclub, I got her to bring Strahan over a bill for $25,453.18, claiming that he had offered to buy all the Giants fans in the place drinks.
MIKE PESCA: Mm-hmm.
JAY GLAZER: And Michael lost his mind.
[MIKE LAUGHS] And I'm sittin’ there saying, well, that’s what you get, Mr., Big Shot stomping out. And he’s going nuts and he’s yelling at me, shut up, Jay! And the Subway people are like, that is unbelievable. So we got to get you guys in a commercial together. And that’s it.
MIKE PESCA: So they saw your interplay and, and -
JAY GLAZER: They saw our interplay. Plus, you know, and also that same week I told Jared from Subway to go play craps. And when he showed up, it was like dude, we're playing craps, and he said, well, I don't play craps. I said, I don't care; I said, you are the luckiest S.O.B. who has ever lived. I don't know what the hell you did in a previous life, but God has blessed you, ‘cause you basically were a fat dude who ate Subway and now you’re skinny, get women and money!
MIKE PESCA: Yeah,
JAY GLAZER: So whatever that is that luck is rubbin’ off on me. [LAUGHS] And he could do no wrong, I got to tell you. And we rolled for about 45 minutes. It was great.
MIKE PESCA: Jay Glazer reports on the NFL for FOX Sports. He enjoys Subway Honey Oat with provolone cheese.
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