Marshawn Lynch's tussle with media, NFL a brilliant move


PHOENIX – One of the best decisions Marshawn Lynch ever made was deciding he didn't want to talk to the media.

The Seattle Seahawks running back used to talk to the media. Did it in high school, did it in college and did it as a pro. There weren't a lot of memorable lines. He isn't exactly the Great Communicator.

He was what he is, a heck of a football player.

Marshawn Lynch has made it clear he's not fond of all of the attention he draws. (AP)
Marshawn Lynch has made it clear he's not fond of all of the attention he draws. (AP)

Lynch stopped talking to the media though and suddenly he became interesting. Whether this was planned or not, it was genius.

Lynch is a huge star now. He's become sympathetic even when his signature on-field celebration is a profane gesture – that’s how much people like people who don't talk to the media. Of course, the idea anyone should have to talk to the media is strange.

While everyone understands the business reason why he's supposed to speak to the media, no one actually thinks it makes much sense to fine someone for not.

It's about the NFL's bottom line, not national security.

So here Lynch was, climbing to a podium at Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday, remarkably the most anticipated interview of the Seattle session … even though he wasn't expected to say anything but some orchestrated lines. Last year's line was: "I'm just 'bout that action, Boss."

This year's line: "I'm here so I won't get fined."

Lynch said that 29 times in response to 29 questions. Didn't matter what the question was, that was the response. Why anyone asked him anything, let alone 29 things, is just part of the fun.

The answer was honest. The NFL reportedly threatened to fine him said $500,000 if he didn't show up. There were cameras and recorders everywhere to document this – many lined up 20 minutes before he arrived.

So it was a press conference with the press set to ask mostly joke questions to a guy who was only there because the NFL demands he take this seriously knowing they wouldn't be answered.

Or something like that.

After four minutes and 51 seconds, he said, "time" and got up and left. Presumably he’d made himself sufficiently available to the media to avoid said fine.

This is part comedy. This is part the creation of victimhood. This is part business.

Yes, his business. YouTube has released a Lynch commercial with a "Skittles Press Conference."

"I'm thankful for the opportunity to have Skittles ask me questions today."

He was asked things such as: "If you could live on any planet after football …"

"I'd stay right here," Lynch said.

Bless the man, he's turned it into a money maker, the guy who wouldn't talk being paid to talk. Only in America. A guy who has also been threatened with a fine and yardage penalty for the aforementioned profane gesture, was pitching candy.

It's just one of Lynch's commercials. There is no question that part of this comes from his BeastMode running ability and the fact Seattle won the Super Bowl last year. Success brings endorsements. There is also no question that his refusal to answer questions – or answering them seriously – has aided in his fame and popularity.

Tuesday was a big day for Brand Lynch.

Now, if there was ever an event Lynch shouldn't be forced to speak it's Super Bowl Media Day, which is a complete and wonderful circus in every other way. There were puppets. There were guys dressed as superheroes. There was a dude who appeared naked wearing a wooden bucket around him (Yahoo Sports did not investigate if he was actually naked).

The whole thing is nonsense, and that is said in the best possible way.

This is a football game, nothing more, nothing less. It's meant as entertainment. The more ridiculous this is, the better – the NFL sells tickets and between the cramped environs of the basketball arena downtown here and the cheering fans, almost no one can hear what is being said anyway.

Mostly, it's a job for everyone involved.

Marshawn Lynch included, he just figured how to get paid off it.