By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — For years, Jay Glazer has set a very good example on how to be a national football reporter. In the span of about 24 hours, Glazer offered a master class on how not to be a national football reporter during a national health crisis.
The Fox Sports reporter said on a radio interview that he had big news to share. Major news. In Glazer’s own words, he had “very big breaking news,” he had “legit, big, breaking, national news,” and he had, just to sum up, “big news.”
Given the history of Glazer’s scoops, most football fans expected the report of a major trade, or perhaps some news about the draft, or some news about the NFL’s adaptations to the coronavirus crisis with regard to the season and scheduling. Something football-related, at least.
And given the complete lack of action in the sports world, Glazer’s promise caught fire. Radio programs with nothing else to discuss were breaking down what Glazer might break. The internet waited with its collective tongue wagging at the prospect of getting some juicy football news to entertain.
In a sports world with no sports, Glazer’s promise gained major traction. And he certainly knew that it would.
Glazer finally broke the “big news” on Fox Sports 1 on Wednesday night when he shared the information that Rams offensive lineman Brian Allen tested positive for COVID-19 and is almost fully recovered.
This is, undoubtedly, a big story, in the sense that Allen is the first active NFL player to be known to test positive. It’s not surprising to find out that an NFL player tested positive, considering there are more than 2,000 people who could be considered active NFL players, and considering the number of positive cases around the country continues to rise every day. Numerous players in the NBA and NHL have tested positive, Saints coach Sean Payton tested positive, Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell tested positive — most people understand that pro athletes are just as susceptible as the rest of society. But it is, nevertheless, a worthwhile news story.
What it should not be is something used to generate attention, hype, and TV ratings.
Jay Glazer, an accomplished NFL reporter, used a viral infection of an NFL player as an opportunity.
That is extremely low. And that’s putting it nicely.
Had Glazer simply wanted to report this news, he could have done so. He did not need to create a hype train for it, he did not need to ever tease it during a radio interview, he did not need to add to the circus by sending out a teaser tweet, and he did not need to sit on the news for two days in order to maximize ratings for a TV show that few people would have been watching if not for his sales job.
Positive cases of COVID-19 should not serve as a reporter’s opportunity to bring attention to himself. Doing so is absolutely shameful.
Of course, Glazer has been a reliable reporter for many years. He’s also involved himself in numerous admirable endeavors, like his MVP program for veterans. This doesn’t undo a lifetime of work.
But with the world grappling with a global pandemic, using a sick player to create hype as if it were a trade of a wide receiver was simply wrong.
More than 600,000 people have tested positive in the U.S.. The virus has killed almost 25,000 Americans. Thousands of more positive tests will be recorded by the end of this day. Hospitals are overloaded. Doctors and nurses are overworked and overexposed. Small businesses are hanging by a thread. More than 10 million Americans filed for unemployment.
This situation should not be considered an opportunity for anybody. Glazer ought to have taken two seconds to think of that before initiating his major, big, breaking, national hype cycle.