Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Lynch making mockery of interviews
By Terry Blount
JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- Who would have thought that Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch would be more in demand from the media in the middle of Super Bowl week than cornerback Richard Sherman?
And that Lynch would become a far bigger distraction for everyone involved?
Strange, but true.
Before Wednesday morning’s media session at the Seahawks' team hotel, Sherman had a spot in the corner with about 20 people around him.
But most of the media gathered around a table in a hallway outside the main room, waiting for Lynch to take his designated seat, and once again, say almost nothing for a few minutes.
Lynch “talked” Tuesday for 6 minutes, 20 seconds on the official media day. He managed to increase his time in front of reporters by 27 seconds Wednesday.
Marshawn Lynch was visibly uncomfortable during his exchange with reporters Wednesday, a day after abruptly ending his Super Bowl media day session.
"I appreciate it," Lynch said of the media's presence and desire to speak with him.
The rest of his opening statement was more telling by Lynch, who did not wear sunglasses Wednesday, as he had done on media day.
“I just don't get it,” he said. “I'm just here so I don't get fined.”
During most of the interview, a visibly uncomfortable Lynch sat in silence, with teammate Michael Robinson at his side. A series of questions were directed toward Robinson about Lynch, who was sporting gold-toned headphones.
Lynch did not speak to reporters during the regular season, but the NFL was going to fine him $50,000 if he didn’t start talking in the playoffs. He has complied, sort of, usually answering questions with brief two- or three-word meaningless responses.
And that was OK, until now. This is the Super Bowl, and the Pro Football Writers of America, as an organization, is not pleased.
The PFWA released a statement Wednesday morning, stating it was “extremely disappointed in the lack of meaningful access” to Lynch.
“Several of our long-standing and high-profile members were appalled by Mr. Lynch’s conduct [on media day] and refusal to answer any questions,” the PFWA said in the statement. "We find the statement by the league that ‘players are required to participate and he participated’ to be an affront to our membership.”
So now, the football writers have taken a strong stand against Lynch, and in the process will infuriate thousands of Seahawks fans who love him. That isn't really germane to the problem at hand.
I've never had an issue with Lynch not talking. And I don’t think anyone among the reporters who cover the team cared, either, but he was breaking league rules.
Now Lynch has made a joke out of the entire process at the Super Bowl. He has outsmarted the NFL, making a mockery of its request that he speaks to reporters during access periods.
So his non-compliance compliance is the biggest controversy of Super Bowl week -- the last thing the Seahawks needed.
Maybe it won’t matter come Sunday. Maybe Lynch will rush for 100 yards and score a couple of touchdowns to lead Seattle to victory over the Denver Broncos.
That could lead to another problem: What if he is voted MVP of the game? Then what would he do with hundreds of reporters wanting to talk to him? What would the NFL make him do?
The Seahawks could live with that scenario if they win the game, but this entire talk/not-talk sideshow has become a major distraction most teams try to avoid at the Super Bowl.