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Opinion: Time For Marshawn Lynch To End The Silent Treatment

By Ashley Dunkak

CBS DETROIT - By refusing to engage with media in the normal fashion, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has induced both adoration and irritation.

Instead of answering reporters' questions, Lynch has generally limited his communication to a repeat phrase in response to every inquiry. One day during Super Bowl media week, he said over and over again, "I'm just here so I don't get fined."

The next day, his scripted line was, "You know why I'm here."

In the past, Lynch has simply refused to even show up to take questions, and the NFL fined him for it. To keep his money and still get his way, Lynch now shows up but does not say anything other than whatever one-sentence phrase he decides on beforehand.

For whatever reason, Lynch clearly does not like the media. That view is his right and is perfectly understandable, and it is one undoubtedly held by many other NFL players. However, all players are members of the union, and the collective bargaining agreement includes the following statement:

"Player will cooperate with the news media, and will participate upon request in reasonable activities to promote the Club and the League."

To me, that alone means that Lynch is out of line. In addition to that general agreement, some players also have clauses in their contract that make more specific requirements about interaction with media.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is not a popular man, but my stance aligns with his on the subject of Lynch. For a professional football player, talking with the media is part of the job -- period.

Who has the perfect job, one that does not involve a single task that feels inconvenient? I cannot imagine such a job, and I highly doubt one exists.

Lynch plays a game for a living that we assume he enjoys; he makes a substantial amount of money, unattainable for the average American, every year he plays it; and he gains exposure through that game that opens up opportunities for additional mounds of income in endorsements.

All those perks are possible because of the popularity of the NFL. The popularity comes from the fans, and their interest is the reason that sports writers cover the league so intently; people read that content.

How would it hurt Lynch to answer questions for the required five minutes of availability? It simply would not. He just does not like it, and evidently unlike most other players, he has decided that his personal comfort matters more than what his employers want.

I am well aware that many people disagree that Lynch should talk like other players do whether he wants to or not. His approach is notable both for its novelty and its irreverence, and that appeals to many folks. After all, not many people can get away with the equivalent of saying, "Screw you," to their boss.

Lynch is flouting authority, and that is always going to get a positive response from some folks. To me, the running back is simply being unprofessional.


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