Marshawn Lynch: Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil? Hardly.

marshawn-lynch-26So what exactly is the deal with Marshawn Lynch? On the eve of the Super Bowl and the tail end of pro football’s biggest week, the antics of the Seattle Seahawks’ star running back has taken a back seat only to the discussions ad nauseum of underinflated pigskins.  Is he ill-advised in his actions and comments to the media? Grumpy? None too bright? Let’s take a look.

Through league mandated media interview sessions this week, Lynch has made it clear that he wants nothing to do with the process nor the men and women with pen and paper.  Earlier in the week, he stating unequivocally that the only reason he was there was to avoid a fine by the NFL.  Then, he proceeded at that time, for all intents and purposes, to answer every question with the same non-answer.  On Thursday, he again appeared, shoulder chip firmly in place, and went on a largely nonsensical rant that said, in not so many words, his family was important and the media was not. Alrighty then.

In case you hadn’t heard, the NFL has an image problem that starts with many of its players and should end at the league office level.  As of this writing, Goodell was still contemplating a fine. Huh? Lynch should have been fined twice this week for his (in)actions.  He had a job to do, he didn’t do it and he openly flaunted it.  I would argue that the Seahawks should have followed suit with a fine.  If they really cared about the fans and integrity of the game, what about sitting him out the first quarter on Sunday? I know, never gonna happen. Unfortunately, however, failure by the league and teams to act swiftly and decisively in such matters continues to be the NFL’s achilles heel – enabling bad behavior and, I would argue ill fan will.

If I were advising Marshawn Lynch from an image standpoint I would make it clear that no matter his reasons for not really talking to the media he only did himself and other important constituents a grave disservice.  He also disrespected his team, the league, the fans and his sponsors – all of whom pay his salary and benefit the family he kept citing.  By now he should also know how the media works.  Give them a good, positive, insightful soundbite and move on.  Instead, Lynch’s unwillingness to answer questions resulted in more questions and more unwanted media attention.

As Matt suggests in his blog this week on Roger Goodell, as long as the NFL is the money making machine that it is not much is going to change. It is just too bad that the Commissioner of football is bought and paid for by owners most concerned with the bottom line.  Maybe those of us rooting for the league to instead ‘do the right thing,’ in particular where player actions are involved, are living in an unrealistic, utopian world.  I may be watching tomorrow. Then again, I just might not. I doubt I’ll be alone.