Days leading up to Super Bowl XLIX, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch stirred up a lot of controversy at the media day in Phoenix when he replied a total of 29 times, “I’m just here so I won’t get fined,” after reporters repeatedly asked him questions.
His lack of cooperation caused even more media attention. Some disapproved of Lynch’s refusal to talk to the media, such as popular sports commentator Stephen A. Smith, who spoke on the subject on ESPN’s “First Take.”
“I think he should be fined $20,000 a day, because you shouldn’t act like that,” said Smith in a debate with Houston Texans’ running back, Arion Foster.
Smith felt like Lynch, as well as other NFL stars, are obligated to speak to the press and media, and by not doing so, athletes disregard the policy. On the other hand, Foster, who also had dealings in the past in which he did not want to talk to the media, came to Lynch’s defense.
“I have no problem if Marshawn Lynch doesn’t want to expose himself to the media,” Foster said.
He added that there are athletes that just don’t like talking to the media, and there are others who do.
In the NFL, refusing to speak to the press or media can result in thousands of dollars in fines and is in the player’s contract. Another question raised was how this issue pertains to fans who want to know more about the players?
Do fans of the sport really care? Or are they more interested in watching the player rather than hearing them talk?
“I think players should have a choice to talk to the media,” said Daren Thompson, a sports and exercise science student at Tallahassee Community College. “I feel like he wasn’t wrong for saying what he said.”
“Not all famous or rich people share or tell us the blueprint they use to stay rich or famous so why should he be obligated as a professional athlete if he doesn't want to,” said John Thomas, a graduating senior from FAMU. “From a fan’s point of view people are people. They may get tired of the cameras like students get tired of homework.”
Despite the controversy, I think it’s safe to say that Lynch has made quite a name for himself in the football world with a huge contract extension with the Seattle Seahawks, and by being one of the best running backs in the league with incredible speed.
“I often look to him for inspiration. He definitely deserves the nickname beast mode,” said Kenneth Nixon who plays for the Tallahassee Cobras.
Lynch capped a 3-yard touchdown in the second quarter of the super bowl, with a total of 45 rushing yards before half time.
The New England Patriots won the Super bowl 28-24.