I am willing to bet that you all saw Super Bowl XLIX this past Sunday. And, sadly, the team I was cheering for didn’t win. Even more sadly, the team I cheer for throughout the season couldn’t even finish with a winning record. But that is beside the fact. What we did all see was the deciding play that lost the Seahawks the game: Pete Carrol decided not to give Marshawn Lynch the ball. Terrible coaching decision that Ask Madden (the football equivalent to Siri) could’ve figured out. Though closer, one again, that statement too is beside the point.
Marshawn Lynch. Beast Mode. This guy has truly set himself apart by creating a mysterious brand for himself, which could be mistaken for by some as rude. Around the middle of the season, Lynch was fined $100,000 by the National Football League for not making himself accessible to the media. (I just thought about how many times I could pay my student loans off with that money.) It is evident that he does not hold the media in the highest regard. When he does speak, he talks of the fact that they don’t have anything negative to write about him and they have no way to twist his words because he doesn’t say enough for them to twist them. At Super Bowl Media Day, his answer to every question he was asked was “I’m here so I won’t get fined.” The League requires every player to make himself accessible to the media and give a response to questions for an allotted amount of time. Lynch sits at the table with a microphone infront of him and cameras in his face and, to his left, he has a phone with a timer on it and, periodically, he lets the reporters know “You have 4/3/1 minute(s) left to look at me and take pictures.” I remember that, after one game, he answered every question with “Thank you for asking.”
Such a witty approach to dealing with reporters has left Lynch to be one of the most sought-after players to interview but he has decided that he’d rather be able to just focus on football and family. He is not trying to poise himself as some sort of football legend wtith rhetoric that will make him memorable. He is letting his game play do that. And, in the meantime, he doesn’t watn to deal with the distraction that media attention brings. Yes, he is getting attention because of his unconventional methods but that’s also led to endorsements. Just recently, he did a Skittles commerical parodying his dealings with the media. He is today what Dennis Rodman was to the NBA in the 1990s. But the difference between him and Dennis is that Rodman was wearing wedding dresses dying his hair. Lynch, on the other hand, just says, politely, “Thank you for asking,” and “Shoutout to all my real Africans out there.” I cannot be mad at the man for wanting to do his job and then go home. Everyone has one aspect of the job that they don’t excel in/like to do. Dealing with the media is that aspect for him. So, from what I can see, he’s going to keep doing a great job on the field, which is what they pay him to do. He is going to get off the field and go change in the locker room. And he is going to sit in front of cameras for a non-telling media session after the game. And, if you want to know about what he does in the inner cities (which is how one reporter tried to get an answer from him, you can come to see him there and he’ll answer your questions. That, my friends, is a strong, if not always appreciated, brand.