The Ongoing Battle of Marshawn Lynch vs. the Media

This piece is written by Alexx Klein. She was a journalism major at Indiana U with a sport marketing and management concentration. Currently she serves as the Athletic Communications GA where she is the primary SID for cross country and swim/dive. Previously, she worked as the media relations intern in the IU athletic department, as well as the PR intern for the Washington Mystics. This summer she will further continue her WNBA experience and serve as the PR intern for the Indianapolis Fever. 

The saga began in last year’s Super Bowl with “I’m just ’bout that action, Boss.”

Then, his blatant disregard for the media, and the NFL’s rules surrounding it, continued through to this season. Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has been putting on a spectacle with the media all year, which has now carried into the Big Game.

According to an ESPN article, in the 2014-15 season alone, Lynch “had been threatened with a $500,000 fine by the NFL if he skipped media day and has accumulated $131,050 in fines since the start of the regular season for violations of the league’s media policy as well as on-field conduct” (Marshawn Lynch, 2015, para 12).

Likely fearing harsher fines and punishment from the league, Lynch honored (some of) the regulations of the Super Bowl interview sessions and attended. He did, however, wear apparel from his line Beast Mode, which will undoubtedly earn him a decent sized fine.

Lynch got creative this time around, adding some variety to his Super Bowl Media Day press conferences. In his defiant refusal to give the media the information they were looking for, Lynch stuck with the phrase, “I’m just here so I won’t get fined,” for five straight minutes at Tuesday’s session. Wednesday it was, “you know why I’m here.”

However, it was after Thursday’s Media Day session that it became apparent why he was behaving the way he was, and it’s because he genuinely does not care about the media, or anything they stand for. On Thursday, he gave shoutouts to his hometown, his family, his teammates, his charity and his hat- all things that he is passionate about and that carry great importance to him. At the end of the day, he cares what his family and his teammates think of him, not how the media want to portray him to the sports fans of the world.

As a current member of the media, it is often frustrating when athletes do not allow you to easily do your job. However, taking a step back from my profession, I have come to a conclusion that I never thought I would in a situation like this.

It’s brilliant. And I respect it.

He stood true to what he believed in, and despite criticism from the media around him, never backed down. Washington Redskin’s safety Ryan Clark said it was “the perfect end to what he’s done with the media all season.” He finally let us in to his thoughts, what drives and motivates him, and what his perspective was on all of this.

Before last year’s Super Bowl, a profile on Lynch was done by Michael Silver. This profile explains why Lynch reacts the way he does to the media. He said, “Football’s just always been hella fun to me, not expressing myself in the media. I don’t do it to get attention… I’m not as comfortable, especially at the position I play, making it about me. As a running back, it takes five offensive linemen, a tight end, a fullback and possibly two wide receivers, in order to make my job successful. But when I do interviews, most of the time it’ll come back to me” (Marshawn Lynch’s, 2014, para 36 and 38).

I agree with Clark, Merrill Hodge and all of the other commentators who have praised Lynch for his behavior this week. This is not to say that I condone breaking league rules and policy, but hey, he warned the media early on: he is not interested and does not appreciate the attention. He was upfront and nobody respected his wishes.

On Thursday he told reporters he was here to prepare for the game, now let’s see if preparation pays off.

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