National Football League

By John McMullen, NFL Editor - Archive - Email
Least mode is no big deal
Marshawn Lynch Marshawn Lynch isn't the first star to sidestep the media and he'll hardly be the last.
Newark, NJ ( - Beast Mode turned into least mode on Tuesday when Seattle Seahawks star Marshawn Lynch begrudgingly spent less than seven minutes with Ines Sainz and the extras for "World War Z The Sequel" at Super Bowl Media Day.

"I thought he did six great minutes from what I heard," his coach Pete Carroll quipped. "Some comedians make a career on that."

Lynch, perhaps the Seahawks' top offensive player, is not all that keen when it comes to dealing with the media, but it's in his job description and the actual demands on his time only amp up during Super Bowl week.

Some players enjoy the lavish attention they get on the game's biggest stage, but the seventh-year running back, famous for his electrifying, tackle-breaking "Beast Quake" runs, is counting down the hours until his NFC champions battle with the Denver Broncos for the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday.

"I'm just about action," Lynch told a sea of reporters who packed the Prudential Center. "You say 'hut,' and there's action. All the unnecessary talk, it don't do nothing for me.

"I appreciate that people want to hear from me, but I just go to work and do my thing. You feel me?"

The NFL's media policy doesn't feel Lynch, who was already fined $50,000 by the league after refusing to speak to the media during the regular season, a penalty which was set aside pending the moody one's living up to his responsibilities in the postseason, something he has done so far, according to the league.

"Players are required to participate and he participated," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "We will continue to monitor the situation."

Lynch is scheduled to be available to the media at least two more times during the week and if there are any more hiccups, he faces up to $100,000 in fines.

The Pro Football Writers of America believe he has already failed to reach the threshold set for him by missing his hour-long availability mark by over 53 minutes.

"The Pro Football Writers of America, the official voice of pro football writers fighting and promoting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public, is extremely disappointed in the lack of meaningful access to Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch at the Super Bowl XLVIII media day on Tuesday," the organization said in a statement issued by president D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

"Several of our long-standing and high profile members were appalled by Mr. Lynch's conduct and refusal to answer any questions. We find the statement that by the league that 'Players are required to participate and he participated' to be an affront to our membership. However, we are encouraged that the league will continue to closely monitor this situation."

Yours truly was not one of those long-standing members appalled by Lynch's conduct.

Yes, every other member of the Seahawks and Broncos stayed for their entire hour-long media day block as Lynch hid in a tunnel, save for a quick talk with Deion Sanders of NFL Network, but, hey, maybe it's an anxiety thing for Lynch or maybe he just isn't comfortable speaking into microphones or digital recorders.

"I think you're just taking it wrong," Lynch countered. "(It) don't make me uncomfortable."

It's hard for alpha-male types to admit something like media-phobia, however.

"He's got strong feelings about it," Carroll said. "We try to help him as much as we can, so that it fits together. He's quiet and to himself in public settings, and I think he feels way more comfortable not being involved very much. He's much more outgoing and gregarious when he's with the team."

Give that quote to the The Anxiety and Depression Association of America or any other non-profit advocacy groups which lobby for a living and you can be assured Lynch won't be getting fined for anything and will no longer have to talk at all.

That said, Lynch understands why the media is granted access and that reporters have a job to do.

"Man, I appreciate this. This is love right here, straight up," Lynch said when surveying the fans in attendance. "They came to watch people get interviewed? This is amazing right here, man."

"My fans love me regardless," he continued. "They love the Seahawks. They aren't worried about what I've got to say. They just want to make sure I show up to perform."

Journalists are taught never to inject oneself into a story because it can ultimately call into question objectivity and independence while damaging credibility.

As a member, I'll admit the PFWA shouldn't have issued a statement on this matter but worked behind the scenes with the league to enforce existing policy.

Lynch isn't the first high-profile star to sidestep the media and he'll hardly be the last.

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