League not sure what to do about Marshawn Lynch

AP

After Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch consistently and persistently avoided talking to reporters, the league eventually took action, reinstating a $50,000 fine from last year and imposing a new $50,000.

Now, Lynch is making himself available to the media.  But he’s not saying much in response to the questions.

Last Sunday, he repeatedly answered reporter questions with “yeah” after a 19-3 win over the Cardinals.  On Thursday night, after a 19-3 win over the 49ers, Lynch swapped “yeah” with “nope“.

While technically complying by making himself available to reporters when he had previously been bailing out of the locker room before talking, Lynch isn’t complying with the spirit of the rule.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league prefers that he be more respectful of the media and the public.  And at some point Lynch’s defiance could result in further financial penalties.

Look for the league to tread lightly in this inherently delicate situation.  Teammates Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin already lampooned the league at a midweek press conference.  Continuing to punish Lynch becomes counterproductive if it potentially prompts other players to become involved.  Some players possibly could decide to join Lynch at some point, making themselves available to the media but saying nothing.

On the other hand, allowing Lynch to talk while saying nothing could eventually invite others to do the same.  Sure, guys like Patriots coach Bill Belichick periodically offer up repetitive, nonsensical, and non-responsive answers like “on to Cincinnati” and “day to day,” but Belichick doesn’t always act that way.

The challenge for the league is to balance the enforcement of its media policy against the practical reality that some guys simply don’t have anything to say.  Players like that are rare, and Lynch currently is the one guy whose desire not to speak is requiring the NFL to spend a lot of time thinking about a solution.

94 responses to “League not sure what to do about Marshawn Lynch

  1. At this point it’s just become a bad joke. If the reporters had any sense they would simply not be a party it anymore. Move on

  2. This is hilarious. I’m a niner fan, but for the most part players give canned responses and Lynch has just taken it to the extreme.
    The NFL has taken a lot of (weel deserved) hits to its image this year. Maybe it should start focusing on what is really important instead of fining players for trivial transgressions?

  3. Why would Lynch be a valuable interview anyway? He has shown that he does not like to talk to reporters and he does not say anything memorable when he does. There are tons of players looking to raise their profile with interviews and some of them, Richard Sherman for example, are quite clever and expansive. Just let this go.

  4. I know folks think it’s hilarious that the players do this stuff, that somehow their rights are being trampled on and they’re sticking it to the Man and the media, but I’m pretty sure if I violate something in my company’s policy or in the contract I signed, I’d probably get docked, suspended or fired. These guys can have this swagger because $50-100k can be absorbed by their 8 figure contracts. You don’t see the practice squad or back-up skill players calling out the employer…they’re making the league minimum. What’s great is that now people are tuning in to the post games just to hear what nothingness these guys have to say. I bet if they levied the fine against the team, you might get a “yeah nope” next time.

  5. Leave Lynch alone. He’s a good guy. Adrian Peterson and Ray Lewis are always so engaging and entertaining to listen to. If it weren’t for murder and child abuse…Lets remember what’s really important. And it’s not what happens in front of a camera. My goodness

  6. If you watch the video, Lynch said more than “yeah” in his first interview. He spoke about his charity event. The media didn’t report on that, and the journalists COMPLETELY ignored that, instead sticking with the silly non-questions that do little more than search for soundbites. I do wonder if Belichick has ever been warned fro his media shenanigans. I’m going to guess probably not.

  7. Wow – amazing how many experts on here about Lynch’s contract or the collective bargaining agreement.

    Sorry to break it to you but it says he has to make himself available for media questions.

    It does not script the answers or provide a minimum number of words.

    If they fine him now, they’ll lose the suit.

    But of course, they’re used to that.

  8. I don’t like nor hate Belichick or Lynch. So in my crazy world that I live in it’s still freedom of speech. It can or cannot be used against you. Wait, what?

  9. This is getting weirder and weirder.

    Under the NFL Media Policy, the player must simply be “available” to the media after every game. Last Sunday and Thursday, Lynch complied.

    The standard player contract, however, requires the player to “cooperate” with the media. Lynch hasn’t really done so. The Seahawks oversee the contract and I doubt very much they will do anything about this seeming violation because it is the League, not the team, that is upset here.

    The CBA puts the onus on the NFLPA to use its “best efforts” to ensure that players cooperate with the media. I don’t see the union leaning on Lynch, given the current state of affairs between the union and the Commissioner.

    Your move, Mr. Goddell.

  10. What’s the deal with Seahawks stars displaying the maturity of a 14 year old girl? And how do these clowns not grasp the fact that it is the extensive media coverage that allows them to make heaps of cash to slam their heads together?

  11. Suspend him. It’s classless, immature, and unprofessional. These guys make tons of money, money they wouldn’t have without ads, sponsors, and fans. Get with the program or get out of the league.

  12. Beastmode does all of his talking on the field. They can force him to do the interviews, but they can’t force him to speak his mind and give anything of value to the the reporters.

    Other teams fans envy our teams players. Other teams players envy our teams fans. #choochoohawksdynastytrain
    #12thmanisheretostay #dynastybeforeyoureyes #kissthering

  13. Unless the Seahawks and Lynch part ways or until the Seahawks are no longer viable playoff contenders, this will continue to be an issue. I hope that at some point we can get passed Lynch’s press reluctance to share his thoughts regarding the games and his charity work. If not; I hope that a reasonable means of reducing this unnecessary (embarrassment) event for all involved.

    Most of all; I HOPE that none of this nonsense impacts the team’s preparation, effort and results.

    Go Hawks!

  14. Now Marshawn, if you only want to wear the required 15 pieces of flair, you know, just GET BY, well, that’s your right. But look at Brian over here. Brian’s wearing 31 pieces of flair.

  15. Let people be themselves. Why force the guy into a box off the field when he gives you so much effort on the field. He’s a gladiator and one of our favorites. He is who he is. Seems like in his hometown he a pretty solid and well respected guy. The lights just get too bright sometimes. Why should anyone hold it against him because he’s different.

  16. He likes to play football, not give interviews.

    I’m completely baffled as to why the league insists on forcing football players to do something completely pointless that makes them uncomfortable.

    Does the NFL consider what the fans want? Because surely the fans don’t want to watch an uncomfortable interview with a guy who doesn’t want it.

    NFL – get your house in order before you start taking six-figure fines away from guys because they don’t want to put themselves out there for the media to pester and twist words around to mean what they want them too.

  17. There are so many players who love to talk, why not just talk to them and leave the ones who don’t have anything to say alone. They all give the same scripted answers anyway that are prepared by the franchise so why not just interview the PR person directly. Fans don’t care anyway, how stupid do you think we are?

  18. Anyone who has heard him speak knows this is all he has. One word nonsensical answers are his best. Single dumbest human of all time. I doubt he can even read. Live in Seattle and listen to his idiotic local commercials. I am embarrassed he is on the team in one of the most educated cities in America they have him. SMH.

  19. So what if the guy doesn’t say much when he has to make himself available to the media, it’s a non issue, who wants to hear an interview with someone who obviously has nothing to say anyway?

  20. The dude obviously has a phobia when it comes to public speaking…why doesn’t the NFL and the media see that and leave the dude alone. There’s 52 other guys in the locker room to interview.

  21. Maybe Lynch just isn’t taking the bait for the next ULTRA HOT TAKE from Florio, King, Rovell, Easterbook, et al. I don’t blame him. It’s not like any player’s words areused for anyone’s benefit but the self-serving press.

    Consider that “bulletin board material” for the green room at NBC, CBS, ESPN, SI, BBQ, etc.

  22. I saw a bunch of media types on a different network talk about how childish it was for Lynch to give the one-word answers.

    My response? Shut up, it was hilarious!

  23. ….. one guy whose desire not to speak is requiring the NFL to spend a lot of time thinking about a solution……
    The only ones spending a lot of time on this is the media.

  24. Just leave him alone………there are plenty of other players/coaches to talk to after a game. The media is making an issue out of this because they can, not because they really need his interview.

  25. I hope all you media keeps pushing Marshawn Lynch into another fine. This way the rest of the Seahawk players will rally to his defense and also give one word answers. I can’t wait to see what the media and the NFL will do with a team revolt on their hands.

  26. Have you actually listened to most of the inane questions reporters ask, and the inane responses most players give? I got a good laugh out of Lynch’s interview. It was entertaining. Beat He// out of, Q: “So what specifically was it that allowed them to beat you?” A: “They’re a good team. They just played better than we did.”

  27. orivar says:
    Nov 30, 2014 9:11 PM
    “Spirit” of the rule isn’t part of the rule.
    ~~~~~~~~
    It is the reason why there is the rule in the first place. Lynch is obviously being disobedient and even passive aggressive. It is no different in principle than if he went to the podium and just sang a song or juggled. His disobedience warrants consequences and if his teammates want to clown the rule then fine them too. What they are doing is bad for business and could qualify as “conduct detrimental”

  28. It does seem likely that he has some degree of social anxiety disorder.
    .
    Its probably in part because he is self aware that he isnt good at talking in front of a crowd(which frankly seems obvious.)
    .
    The league should have found a way to de-escalate this early on.

  29. I don’t see why the nfl has to do anything about this. He doesn’t want to talk to sports media, I don’t see what the issue is.mive never watched a game BC of what Maurice jones drew or Jamal Charles had to say and I cannot imagine that anyone else has either. Additionally, I don’t feel any closer to the action when I hear Tom Brady offer vanilla good guy comments on Westwood one and I for sure switched when Aaron Rodgers was being interviewed before the game. Nothing that anyone on these programs is saying is authentic. I think the reason that the shows like hard knocks are successful is bc players are communicating in there element and not having to answer nonsense questions repeatedly.

    On a final note, does anyone really feel like they become more attached when a player talks about how parts of the game?

  30. Ok….

    Half the time the guys that WANT to be in front of a mic we all end up shaking our damn heads and wondering what the heck they were thinking when they said what they said.

    So…

    The answer is to force the guys who you know DON’T want to talk to talk? Yep. I’m pretty sure that will have great results.

    Wake up NFL. Peace will not be achieved, hunger will not be ended and the Ozone will not stop being destroyed by Marshawn Lynch talking to some stiff 15 minutes after having his head banged around like a ping pong ball.

  31. I don’t think any player should HAVE to. If a player wants to, they should. If they don’t want to, they shouldn’t. Too many statements take on a life on their own anyway. I wouldn’t want to.

  32. People from the hood aren’t supposed to find loopholes or out smart the league, is that right?

    Who cares what the league prefers, what about the distress they are causing Lynch by forcing him to talk, does he get a bonus for those interviews.

    Stay hood Lynch, keep your mouth shut and what can I say except be yourself when you exit the league, but I wouldn’t wait 2 secs. after to make the league look like they held you back… Like Randy moss, people think he has a personality now that he’s commentating.

  33. actually the NFL wants him to speak within the parameters of what the NFL and their sponsors deem acceptable. A lecture on the evils of alcohol would probably not fly. what if Lynch who had some alcohol issues in the past stood behind the podium and said that the beer companies were more responsible for DV than NFL players. what if Lynch answered a reporters question with a question “when will the beer companies make a NO MORE’ commercial.

  34. The NFL has, through its freely CHOSEN course of action, painted itself into a corner. Unless there is a written requirement regarding not JUST availability but CONTENT of comments, clearly explaining “Spirit” then REAL, ACTUAL and SPECIFIC punishment will be quite a difficult undertaking. “Spirit of the rule” as mentioned above is entirely too subjective, and will vary from person to person in charge of administering the types and seriousness of penalties. Imagine the poor soul who is handed the job of parsing each and every player remark along with its meaning and intent!! Has the league learned NOTHING from the Ray Rice mess? Punishment regarding offenses cannot be made up along the way. At THIS point,, the only thing that can be done, is to allow players who CHOOSE to behave along the lines of Lynch, to do so. They are COMPLYING with the negotiated directive. All the league can hope for NOW, is that the media will eventually tire of being PART of the nonsense and ignore players who not only do NOT want to comment, but who will act out in a petulant manner. Giving attention to Lynch and his ilk, will only CEMENT or worse, ESCALATE the boorishness, ESPECIALLY when OTHER teammates like Sherman and his cardboard dummy become involved. Time to walk away from the smoldering embers NFL, before you sprinkle kerosine rather than WATER on the ashes.

  35. I wish people would learn what “Freedom of Speech”, as guaranteed by our consitution really means.

    It means that the government cannot persecute you for your speech, that is all. It protects you from the government only, and not from your employers or legally binding work contracts. There are consequences for your speech.

    Lynch is just one one jerk on a team of several. He is not creative, clever, smart, informative or entertaining. There is nothing to see here, but learn your basic civil rights people, for pete’s sake. Stop misusing it, it’s embarrasing as an American.

  36. The only people who care about this complete non-story are the whiny media.

    He doesn’t want to talk? so what. There are hundreds of other players who are more than willing to give you a soundbite or two. Why is it really that important to get something from him?

    At this point, continuing to badger someone who clearly has some type of social anxiety disorder is borderline abuse.

  37. Whatever punishment you dished out to Rice and Peterson double it for this clown! Those poor reporter’s are unable to defend themselves. I also expect the seahawks to have a jersey buy back of all lynch jerseys. It’s the right thing to do and you know it Seattle.

  38. I don’t think he does this (or doesn’t in this case) because he’s being “defiant” or “disrespectful.” If you look at him during interviews he seriously looks incredibly uncomfortable; agitated…….anxious. Just because you’re an amazing athlete doesn’t mean you’re going to be that outgoing, charismatic type. But his is so extreme, it is border-lying on some type of personality disorder.

  39. It’s all written as “available” and “best efforts” for a reason – you can’t force someone to talk. So fining them for not talking or for non-responsive answers is dumb. Have a waiver process. Lynch clearly isn’t comfortable. As long as a certain number of players talk per game that should give the media their sound bites.

    What do they mean be more respectful of the public? He is respectful of the public. Or did the “league” miss the story about him going 20 minutes out of his way to return a lost wallet to a guy? He’s respectful of the media too – he just won’t talk to them unless he wants to.

  40. Hopefully Sherman take issue with this and
    quits talking to the media also. Early X-mas
    present for all. If Lynch doesn’t want to talk
    to the media, maybe the league should honor
    his request. Tell him he is no longer allowed to
    talk to the press, and then fine him when he
    does.

  41. Lynch could always get a 9 to 5 if he doesn’t like his current job requirements.

    If the league continues to be made an ass of by this guy, the inmates will be running the asylum in no time.

  42. Suspend Marsha, that will wake her up, maybe! Just another piece of crap in the NFL, that the public has had enough of!!!
    The NFL has no control of these animals, time to lay down the law!! You don’t want to follow rules, get a job somewhere else!!! Spoiled Brats!

  43. seriously though, his beef should be with the NFLPA. they agreed to the deal that has it in the contract lynch signed that he must participate in these sort of things.

    I am sorry, but I do have a really hard time feeling bad for a guy who has to spend all of 5-10 minutes giving generic answers to basic questions about a sport where you are paid 6 million dollars for all of 6 months “work”

    you got a problem with talking to the media? talk to the NFLPA rep and get them to take it out of the next negotiation. until then, stop focusing anger in the wrong direction.

  44. I live in New England, BB is the best coach the Pats have ever had. He is as warm and caring as a drill instructor. He prefers to keep most of his comments in house. He is easily more evasive than Lynch at answering questions.

    Id personally like to see Lynch in a press conference saying things like. Look myself and the Seahwaks have to focus our efforts on our next opponents.

    And something you can say about any single play in a football game. Itc complimentary football. Well you know the Qb did this the line did the wide outs did this. And yes some of the success or failure on that play was set up by the previous play.

    If Lynch does not wish to talk to the media I do not have a problem with it. If he does not get into the hall of fame he would have nobody to blame but himself. Planet earth to Lynch Planet earth to Lynch I do believe its the AP writers that get to decide if you get in or not.

  45. Leave Lynch alone. Its clear the man has no desire to speak to the media. There are 53 players on the Seahawks roster. Honestly you can’t find one of them to talk to you guys after the game. The fact that the media continues to attempt to talk to Lynch is asinine.

    Would these reporters rather write articles about Lynch saying “yeah” or spend those 15 minutes with a player who wants to give incite into the days game?

  46. You sign a contract with a team. The team pays you to live up to the contract. Part of the deal is you must make yourself available to talk to the media. Not difficult. The media is the vehicle that the NFL uses to communicate with the fans. It’s the fans that in the end pay the salaries of everyone who works in the NFL. Allowing Lynch to go on his own and not talk is really not an option the NFL wants to set. Talking to the media for 10 minutes really is a small price to pay for years of financial security at the expense of the fans who afford you this lifestyle.

  47. He can do what Mario Williams does. Wait until about a minute left in the question period and show up, then give very short, pat answers that will give the media nothing to run with. It works for him and he doesn’t get fined.

  48. steelerswillbefine says:
    Nov 30, 2014 9:17 PM

    Poor millionaire baby. God forbid you get paid millions of dollars and have to talk to the media. Grow up, put your extra 10 minutes in, and move on.
    _____________________________________

    Wallet envy is the least attractive of all fan traits. Don’t like to see guys get paid the millions YOU help generate? Stop watching, stop buying gear, stop attending games.

  49. I remember a time when fans only cared about the action on the field, not all the nonsense that parasite reporters try to create before and after the game.

  50. What Lynch did is no worse than the majority of the non-answers other people give. Most of the time players and coaches speak they give trite and cliched answers to questions that tell people nothing. Since they use a few more words doing so, I guess that is ok.

    Stop making players and coaches talk to the media. Maybe that way they will make themselves available when they actually have something important to say rather than mumble on cue for the camera for their media overlords.

  51. Seattle fans do not care if he talks, they see his words on the field. Talk to Sherman and the rest, they love to talk to the media. Ask him about his Charity, you will get more out of him.

  52. I understand the idea, having the players available to the media for good access and availability. Helps the image of the NFL, BUT not all players are even talked to by the media. So, unless you talk to all the players on the team media, then understand that an athlete might not like talking.

  53. These guys are paid insane amounts of money to plat a game. Money straight out of the pocket of fans. Yet they think they are above doing their job. He should be fired for insubordination just like all those people who pay his salary would be. You likely would be making well under 30k a year if not for this game you despise so much. Probably less cause you would have been fired for your bad attitude.

  54. I am so proud he’s playing for seattle… the interview was hilarious. This dude’s got juice. He’s not interested in being a reality TV personality. That’s really what the media is after. Enjoy the salary. You earned it.

  55. If the NFL is trying to be proactive against bullying, then why are they bullying Marshawn into something that he has obviously an issue with. If someone has social anxiety then why are they forcing him to do something that is against his nature. what if forcing him to talk caused him to vomit on your feet, would you then keep forcing him to talk?
    The NFL is one of the last great big bullies

  56. If the NFL is trying to be proactive against bullying, then why are they bullying Marshawn into something that he has obviously an issue with. If someone has social anxiety then why are they forcing him to do something that is against his nature. what if forcing him to talk caused him to pass out…would you then keep forcing him to talk?
    The NFL is one of the last great big bullies.

  57. Talk about raising the profile of a guy who doesn’t want to talk after a game.
    The game doesn’t celebrate public speaking, it celebrates on field plays. The NFL is trying to turn the game in to a reality show. To be honest, I like it when those rather big strapping guys let us in (eye candy), but not everyone is cut out for that. Instead of mandatory after game interviews, substitute other forms of interviews. Like, a day in the life of ‘The Beast’… on his terms (lots of cuts, so he doesn’t feel like he will lampooned). That episode will allow him to skip X number of interviews. Problem solved.

  58. One of the first rules of an interview is to put your subject at ease.
    There’s a great clip on youtube of Lynch doing a piece with a Japanese TV crew on different candies. He’s happy and relaxed. He’s also done one-on-ones with ex-players with whom he feels comfortable.
    Maybe if the media raised _its_ game and put him at ease, instead of 7 or 8 reporters sticking a microphone in his face all at the same time, crowded round his locker, they might get better results.

    Or the NFL can continue to try and force him to make the media’s job as cookie-cutter as possible.

  59. Update:

    Lynch will be interviewed by Michael Robinson (former teammate) for this Sunday’s NFL Network show. Sure it is going to be slanted to provide some insight into why Lynch doesn’t want to do interviews with the general press. However, this won’t stop the media wanting more and in fact may cause more issues as it will go to show that he can and will do interviews…….. I don’t see how he can ignore the media once he submits to do this interview………. Hope it goes well.

  60. I don’t think it requires a great deal of effort or thought on his part to say something like “fine” when asked how his back is feeling, “they did a good job” about his offensive line, or “they played great” when asked about the defense that held the Seahawks to 3 points. After a while of questions met with nonanswers which won’t help a story or game report, reporters and the league would get bored of the situation and it would cease to be a story. By simply answering “yeah” (or “nope”) to 14 questions, Lynch is making a story out of something that shouldn’t be a story.

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