The week before the Super Bowl, while decidedly boring for most people, is one of the most exciting times to be a member of the media. Every member of each team, coaches, players, mascots (probably) are contractually required to attend several press conferences in which throngs of story-hungry media professions attempt to extract every bit of information possible. Sure, this is kind of a hectic time, but at the same time it’s a tradition, and usually both players and members of the media find a way to have fun.
Marshawn Lynch is having fun.
Lynch, who has been subject to numerous fines for not communicating with the media, is well known for his unwillingness to partake in interviews, press conferences, and generally just being cooperative. Lynch has never been combative, as he either chooses to skip allotted media times, or he simply answers all questions with the exact same phrase, a tactic he’s employed several times this season already.
The NFL has rules regarding communication with the media for a reason. Sports writers, for example, will have trouble crafting an readable story if they can’t get any sort of first-person attribution from members of the team. Getting quotes is an important part of news writing because it allows the reader to connect on a more intimate level with the story. NFL players, for the most part, are a highly paid bunch, especially if someone is actually worth talking to. So Lynch, who made $6 million this season, is being really selfish by refusing to talk to media, right?
Lynch grew up on Oakland, California, a locale you might recognize as “hood-ish”. He had a rough upbringing, lacked a father figure, and numerous run-ins with authority figures as a young man caused him to distrust anyone not included in his inner circle. Fast forward to his NFL days, the All-Pro running back is now looking down the barrel of dozens of media members each Sunday, with several thousand seeking to crack his shell this week. Because of his lack of cooperation or downright refusal to talk to media, the NFL had levied several hundred thousand dollars in fines against the Seahawks premier ball carrier.
In fact, the NFL has threatened a $500,000 against Lynch if he refuses to talk to media during Super Bowl week. That $500,000 number is actually the maximum fine allowed under the league constitution, and it also the monetary value the NFL fined the New Orleans Saints for the “BountyGate” scandal, the players and coaching staff paid bonuses for intentionally injuring other players. Roger Goodell is effectively suggesting refusal to cooperate with media to the fullest extent warrants the exact same punishment as a subsidiary of his corporation intentionally injuring his employees. This would be like the federal government fining the post office $500,000 for losing someone’s mail while another office is fined the exact same amount after one of the mail clerks stabbed seven people.
What do I know, though.