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Marshawn Lynch vs. NFL and the Media

Posted At: January 22, 2014 1:53 p.m.
by Shannon Auvil

Marshawn Lynch, star running back of the Seattle Seahawks, might be a little more talkative next season.

Lynch avoided the media during the entire 2013 regular season and recently faced a fine of $50,000 from the NFL for his silence. In response, Lynch held a press conference Jan. 3, which lasted a mere 90 seconds.

Lynch appealed the fine, and Ray Anderson, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, accepted the appeal. However, Anderson stipulated that if Lynch makes a habit of blowing off the media again, he will have to fork over $100,000, double the original fine.

Speaking to the media is a requirement in the NFL, because the league wants its players to be active in promoting and publicizing the league to local and national media. It is an important role, because all organizations should aim to appear accessible and transparent to their audiences.

Players like Peyton and Eli Manning are so talented at the media game that they have jumped to advertising. You can hardly watch an hour of television without seeing Eli model a luxury watch and Peyton sell you “Better Ingredients, Better Pizza, Papa John’s.” Lynch is the opposite.

Seahawks fans — angry that a fine could be levied during such a pivotal time in the season and for a seemingly irrelevant offense — quickly started an online campaign to raise the money to cover Lynch’s fine. The campaign ended Jan. 20 and had raised more than $20,000. In spite of having appealed his fine, Lynch has promised that he will match all donations made by fans and donate to a Seattle charity.

Lynch has come out on top of the fine fiasco, while the NFL’s actions angered many fans across the country. Seattle fans don’t usually consider postgame interviews to be part of the running back job description of breaking tackles and scoring touchdowns. The NFL appeared strict and irrational by fining Lynch, who does more to garner fans and jersey sales with his excellent field performance than with any 90-second interview.

What’s more is Lynch’s pledge to match the amount of money raised by supportive fans and donate it to charity has improved his relationship with fans and the city of Seattle more than a news article could. Lynch made the best out of the situation and left the NFL administration looking incompetent.

With the Seahawks heading into the Super Bowl Feb. 2, Lynch has more to worry about — like the hundreds of journalists heading to New Jersey to interview him.

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