Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch knew he’d be fined $100,000 if he failed to speak to reporters after Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs. He failed to speak to reporters anyway.
While that infraction pales in comparison to other current problems that have been exacerbated by the league’s own bungling of them, the fine imposed on Lynch falls within the standard job description of professional football player in the National Football League.
The league’s media policy is clear: “Players must be available to the media following every game and regularly during the practice week as required under league rules. Star players, or other players with unusually heavy media demands, must be available to the media that regularly cover their teams at least once during the practice week in addition to their required post-game media availability. . . . Each club will open its locker room during the normal practice week (based on a Sunday game) on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to all accredited media for player interviews for a minimum of 45 minutes.”
So “star” players — like Lynch, who is paid accordingly — have two required media availabilities per week. Lynch consistently has declined to make himself available. Sure, it’s a small issue in the grand scheme of things. Yes, players and coaches routinely say nothing of value during these media availabilities. But the NFL requires that the player show up and say something.
If they don’t or won’t, they suffer the consequences. And if for some reason they can’t, due to social anxiety or some other mental or emotional condition, they need to go through the proper channels to request an accommodation to their discomfort.