The conversation this week around Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch’s uncooperative performance at Super Bowl Media Day – and his lecture to the media, again without answering questions two days later - has largely missed a key point.
We’re told Lynch is uncomfortable speaking to the media, but by manufacturing his own media circus – not once, but twice – he created a dominant storyline about his conduct, (called “unprofessional” by ESPN analyst and two-time Super Bowl champion Tom Jackson) and, most importantly, took attention away from his well-deserving teammates.
By grabbing headlines this week, Lynch:
• Created a potential distraction for his teammates
• Left his teammates to answer questions for him
• Deprived Seahawks fans – the ultimate losers in this even as they defend him – of his thoughts about the game
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter said on Pardon The Interruption, “Everything about this Super Bowl has gone underreported because of “deflate-gate” and Marshawn Lynch. These two storylines have gotten so much attention that you have not heard anything about the Seahawks wide receivers or the Seahawks defensive line or the Patriots wide receivers. We don’t talk about those things anymore because they're so far off the radar.”
While the Lynch saga hasn’t reached “deflate-gate” proportions, it clearly dominated Media Day. Think how differently the coverage would have been – and how many more endorsements Lynch might have added to his portfolio – if he would have spent his five-minute media obligation:
• Deferring personal questions to talk about his teammates
• Talking about what it’s like to play for Head Coach Pete Carroll
• Thanking the Seahawks’ rabid fans
Lynch clearly has put way more time and effort into NOT talking to the media than he would have had to do by simply answering a few questions in a professional manner.
When it comes to media interviews, players too often make the mistake of thinking they have to talk about themselves. As intriguing of a character as Lynch has become, there will be an audience for whatever he wants to say. In fact, we’d love to hear his thoughts about the guys who block for him. And they would benefit from their own moment in the Super Bowl spotlight.