There was no escaping Super Bowl media day for Marshawn Lynch, despite the hatred the Seattle Seahawks has for speaking with the media. For those who love his coy act you don’t have to worry, he didn’t say anything meaningful.
What did he say? Just one thing: I’m here so I don’t get fined. That’s it. He was on the podium for exactly four minutes and 51 seconds, the time allocated for his “interview”. He was asked 29 questions. To all of them he answered with the same phrase. When his timer went off (he had his phone next to him) he left the microphone, got up, helped a reporter who dropped his recorder and walked away. He fulfilled his obligation.
What did the NFL threaten him with? Well, it seems like a record breaking fine of $500,000 if he was going to intentionally miss media day. Are there any regulations about missing media day in the rule books? Probably not. Ndamukong Suh can step on a player in an attempt to break his leg once every 32 games and it’s completely OK. But a player who simply doesn’t want to speak to the media? The NFL has no problem emptying his pockets.
There were negotiations regarding his appearance. A lot of things happening behind the scenes, with Lynch being at the center of them. There were discussions involving team officials, league officials and also representatives from the NFL players association about his exact responsibilities in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, and what might happen if he didn’t live up to them. It turns out a lot of people within the Seahawks organization weren’t sure if Lynch was even going to show up to the scheduled press time.
It’s not over for Lynch, at least according to the league’s media policy. He’ll need to show up to the media events in the team’s hotel today and on Thursday. He doesn’t have to really say anything meaningful. NFL contracts require players to simply show up to their media obligatory events, but not actually say anything. Lynch went the extra distance by simply stating the only reason he decided to show up: He doesn’t want to lose more money.
He was fined $50,000 back in November for violating the media policy, which caused a dormant fine from the previous season, also for $50,000, to be activated. He was fined $20,000 for his crotch celebration in the NFC championship game, something the league actually sold pictures of until they were caught and took it offline, a gesture he pulled off in December and was fiend $11,050 for. They say the league cares for player safety, but it’s mostly about chasing easy money from players who don’t want to ‘play the game’, only actually play the game.
Throwing in some personal opinion, I’m not in love with Lynch’s approach. I don’t think he’s media shy or has some stage fright. There’s a reek of arrogance and ungratefulness to this whole thing. Part of what makes these guys so well paid is the huge media deals the NFL has with the networks. The players want that money (and they deserve more than the 47% of the revenue they’re receiving now), but they can’t just play the game on their own terms. There have to be some consequences, and speaking for five minutes to reporters isn’t exactly the end of the world. But the NFL is after Lynch in a bad way, which forces him to walk the line, in his own special way at least.