February 2, 2014

Lynch vs. the Media: Who's Really in the Wrong?

By - Benjamin Lincecum

Unless you live outside of the United States or under a rock in the States themselves, you've heard about the Super Bowl this week. You heard the storylines of Peyton's legacy, Richard Sherman's comments in an article about Manning, Peyton's response to those remarks, John Elway's remarks about Manning's legacy, as well as a number of other topics.

Seemingly, though, one of the most important stories that has been pushed by the media is Marshawn Lynch's unwillingness to engage them. You heard about how he was fined earlier this season and a hope was hung over him that it would be rescinded if he managed to sit in front of the microphones and answer questions following each game as the season progressed.

Photo by: Jeff Zelevansky
Upon immediate reflection, I thought that Lynch was being ridiculous. I understand that he has a beef with the local media in Seattle and he feels like the press is only out for a story, but that's their job. Just like it's his job to carry the rock and interact with the fans via postgame and weekly interviews. Really all a player has to do is be amenable and answer the questions and there's nothing to worry about.

If Lynch is given a pass to ignore the media, what might happen in the future when a quarterback or receiver declines to interact with them and there are no stories leading up to the Super Bowl? After all, it is important to get these storylines out so that we, the fans, will have something to talk about throughout the week, right?


In today's world of social media, fans have a different way of interacting with the players. We no longer rely strictly on the press to give us exclusive access to these players and their thoughts. All players are given crash courses on the pitfalls of social media and taught how to manage the way they present themselves through that medium.

With the blogosphere constantly drumming up conspiracy theories and opinions based on little-to-no actual interaction with the players, the media largely becomes nothing more than a confirmation tool. The fans no longer need every player to give us their thoughts after every game. We have our own thoughts and opinions that we value far more, and are not afraid to share them.

So why the media obsession with Marshawn Lynch? Why try to force a player who obviously does not want to talk to the media, to talk to the media? Can the reasons above legitimately be applied to this scenario?

I think not.

Living in New Orleans, I was able to work from home for a few days this week since people around here don't have the first clue how to drive in "winter weather." I saw the discomfort that Lynch was in when he was being interviewed. It wasn't just that he didn't want to talk to them, the whole thing literally pained him. I am not about to try to assert that Lynch has some sort of mental issues, but this wasn't a guy who just did not feel like speaking to reporters. Each day he sat there for a few minutes giving short answers, or, at one point, letting his teammates step in and address the media for him.

The reporters themselves were like sharks with blood in the water. It was like they sensed his discomfort and immediately went into attack mode. They sent a barrage of inane questions towards him, even asking about his obvious discomfort.


I've yet to hear a single person complain about Lynch not speaking to the media. I've yet to read a single blog, or Facebook post about Lynch's reticence. The fans don't care, yet the media hides behind that. This was really nothing more than a bunch of bullies tattling on someone to force them into a situation they didn't want to be in, then once they had him, they went wild on the guy. It was flat out embarrassing and shameful.

It is well past time for the NFL to take a look at their policies regarding player interaction with the media, and this proves it. Lynch was forced to speak with people he had no desire to speak to, and they got off on trying to lord their power over him. The story stopped being about what Lynch does on the field, and became about why he won't entertain their stupidity. They perfectly illustrated why Lynch has a problem with them to begin with, and in my opinion, acted like children.

If a player doesn't want to interact with traditional media, as long as fans have some access to him and aren't beating down the doors of the NFL office, the league should side with the player. They are there to protect these guys and make sure that the on-field product is the best it can be. This incident has taken away from that very product, and if the dinosaurs of traditional media are given their way and are allowed to bully the players into addressing them, it will only get worse.

We need the players more than the media now. It's time those troglodytes realized it.


  1. Bottom line...he is a professional...and in his contract there are stipulations that he has to talk to the media...he is representing the NFL BRAND...if he is not comfratable talking to the media he needs to take some public speaking classes in the off season. It will help him out in the long run if he wants a career after the NFL...he got that skittles endorsement but he won;t get much more if he don't have a personality....

  2. Just one more circumstance of this generation snubbing their nose at the mainstream. Most people under 30 live by the credo, "I'll do what I want when I want, and if you don't like it, you can stick it." It's immaturity at its finest. That said, I don't give 2 hoots about what Lynch thinks, because unlike Sherman, he probably had nothing interesting to say.

  3. Like Ben, I originally thought Lynch was just being dumb about the whole thing. But after seeing him during media day it became clear to me that he has some sort of social anxiety disorder. Thousands upon thousands of people struggle with this problem and it's not something that should be taken lightly. The league needs to review their policy and take appropriate measures to fix the situation. Plain and simple.

  4. they suspended a player for bullying...why not reporters they are employed too.