Last Sunday the Seattle Seahawks took a step closer to achieving the construction of a dynasty by repeating as Super Bowl champions. Amid the celebration of their victory over the Carolina Panthers reporters once again approached star running back Marshawn Lynch in hopes of getting an interview. Yet again, Lynch responded in a manner that makes many wonder if he has an anger disorder.
The National Football League (NFL) and its commissioner Roger Goodell have been clear on enforcing their policy of athletes communicating with the media. Lynch, who is notorious for his unwillingness to communicate with the media, has been fined numerous times for violating the league’s policy on media interaction. Sunday’s game was yet another opportunity for Lynch to display his failure to cooperate.
Truth is the league would have a hard time existing without the media and vice versa. The NFL strives to do its best to strengthen its connection with the press. This is quite understandable because the media gives fans a chance to feel connected to their favored teams while giving players and coaches a platform to display their talent. A quote from the 2011 NFL policy for players reads:
Cooperation with the news media is essential to the continuing popularity and financial prosperity of our game and its players. This is an important part of your job, especially in these challenging times when everyone in the NFL must do more to promote our game. Violations of the policy may result in fines. Just as important, failure to adhere to the minimum requirements of the Media Relations Policy will cast you and your organization in a negative light.
This statement makes it clear how much weight the league puts on players interacting with the media. It does not matter whether players are interested in speaking with reporters; this is a policy that is mandated. The policy also states that teams are to be available to the media on a consistent basis during scheduled media times. The times which are allotted during normal practice weeks are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as well as in the locker room after games.
Lynch is known for his off the wall press conferences after the game. Although he has been fined several times in the past for refusing to talk to the press or not giving any straight answers he continues to break the rule. While reporters feel they are never going to get real answers from Lynch, some are questioning if this is a disorder that the league is overlooking.
He constantly evades reporters as he does players on the field. Sunday he had another media-adverse response to questions arising from reporters. Every question was answered with, “I’m thankful.” Although awkward, his short answers will allow him to avoid another fine like the hefty one he suffered for avoiding media earlier this season.
The NFL media does not appreciate his apparent disdain for interviews. The official voice of pro football writers fighting and promoting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public known as the Pro Football Writers of America has spoken out against Lynch’s actions after repeated episodes. They previously released the following statement:
Several of our long-standing and high-profile members were appalled by Mr. Lynch’s conduct and refusal to answer any questions. We find the statement that by the league that ‘Players are required to participate and he participated’ to be an affront to our membership. However, we are encouraged that the league will continue to closely monitor this situation.
According to his former teammate Ryan Riddle when Lynch avoids the media he is in essence preserving his autonomy. He feels safe. Lynch cares nothing about setting the record straight regarding who he is to reporters or anyone else.
Many public figures suffer from anger issues and debilitating anxiety or social concerns. Some have wondered if Lynch is another victim of a mental disorder which makes speaking to reporters more difficult than the average athlete. Reportedly, Lynch has been a different person when the media is around from his early playing career. Is he just being difficult or does he have an anger disorder the league is choosing to ignore?
by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
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