Sometimes in life, you have to do things you don’t want to do. That holds true whether you’re an adolescent who greatly disdains household chores or an adult who gets frustrated by some of the responsibilities that come with age.
They are the duties that come attached with your role in life and, unfortunately, they are duties that you can’t avoid. Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, however, thinks he’s above these obligations, especially with regards to making himself available to the media.
Lynch is notorious for his recent relationship, or lack thereof, with the media. Simply put, despite his contract and NFL policy dictating that he make himself available for questions, he has avoided the media at all costs, no pun intended.
Last year, the NFL fined him $50,000 for his lack of media appearances. This season, he’s been fined another $50,000 for the same offense. Facing the threat of an even more substantial fine north of $500,000, Lynch has reluctantly attended the last two Super Bowl media days. But even then, he’s been recalcitrant towards those in the media. Last season, Lynch answered all of the questions posed by reporters with some variation of “I’m just ‘bout that action, Boss.” This year’s media day saw Lynch’s refrain change to differing versions of “I’m here so I won’t get fined.”
The actions of Lynch have earned him immense praise, from fellow football players and even pundits. Lynch shouldn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to, they say. Lynch shouldn’t have to put up with the pestering media, they proclaim, as if the media is only out to sensationalize and make headlines by trying to get him into trouble.
While I respect these claims, I find that people are agreeing more with Lynch’s stance not out of disdain for the media, but because it’s the hip, cool thing to do—it further builds up Lynch as some sort of crusader against the establishment.
Unfortunately for Lynch, to whom much is given, much is expected. Lynch is one of the most talented running backs of the last decade. He is one of the toughest players for opposing defenses; he is difficult to tackle and bring down due to his demonizing strength and will.
A five-time Pro Bowler, Lynch has used his God-given talents and staunch determination to carve out an impressive career. He’s been the league leader in rushing touchdowns twice, and has has been the featured back on a Super Bowl-winning team. This week, he will also have the chance to join the select company of those who have won two consecutive Super Bowl.
By getting to suit up in an NFL uniform each Sunday and getting paid millions of dollars each year to play football, he lives out the dreams of millions of Americans. So is it really that much to ask of him to attend team media sessions and answer questions from reporters?
Whether or not Lynch agrees with the NFL’s media policy should not determine whether he appears before them to answer questions. When Lynch signed his four-year $30 million contract three seasons ago, he also agreed to the obligations of the NFL’s media policy. He acknowledged, by signing his contract, that he had an obligation to appear before the media and make himself available.
Talking to the media is part of his job description. Lynch should not be able to pick and choose aspects of his job that he wants to perform. As a college student, I didn’t like that I had to take a 23-page final exam for my accounting class. I don’t like that I’m required to submit a final presentation for my marketing class. Am I just going to ignore these obligations or just write “I’m writing this so I won’t get an incomplete grade in the class” all over my exam or presentation because I don’t particularly like the task? No, I’m going to suck it up and do them tothe best of my ability because part of my responsibility as a college student is to complete the assignments my professors give me.
I understand that everyone has their own personality. Some are more talkative than others and some are more reluctant to talk to strangers, such as the media. But, with regards to his media obligations, Lynch needs to stop acting like a five-year old waiting in the doctor’s office for a vaccination. That shouldn’t exempt you from performing your duty. Sometimes you have to do what’s required of you, whether you like it or not.