Though Marshawn Lynch says little, NFL still comes out on top

Jan 28, 2015, 7:52 AM | Updated: 7:59 am

Marshawn Lynch was once again a story during Media Day for for his reluctance to speak. (AP)...

Marshawn Lynch was once again a story during Media Day for for his reluctance to speak. (AP)


“I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”

That was the line Marshawn Lynch repeated approximately 29 times during Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday. By now, most Seahawks fans know the deal with the ongoing Marshawn v. Media saga and most that I talk to have taken a side at some point along the way. Generally, I’ve found that folks either believe that Lynch is at the tip of the sword fighting a battle for future generations of athletes that dislike their media responsibilities (i.e. “The Media” are jerks) or that he’s unwilling to live up to his contractual obligations and should be scorned accordingly (i.e. Marshawn Lynch is a jerk).

Marshawn Lynch draws a crowd but doesn’t say much at media day

Lost in the outrage over his defiance of NFL policy on one side and the celebration on the other is the fact that the league comes out smelling like a rose either way. It’s not a media creation to that fans in Seattle who feel they’re being loyal to Lynch scream about him being unfairly treated. Over 40,000 individuals thought so much of that notion that they went so far as to sign a petition accusing the NFL of bullying. It’s also not a media creation to say that fans in other NFL towns think that Lynch is a lout that should be penalized as strongly as possible, and all you need is a casual perusal of social media to see the proof there. Both conversations are driven by the passion of NFL fans and the passion of NFL fans is why Super Bowl Media Day even exists.

After all, if you care enough to be outraged one way or the other by an interview held six days before the actual game, then the NFL has done its job.

We should not forget that the NFL is a media corporation first and foremost. Those games on Sunday are its prime-time lineup but hardly the only product that it is marketing. You cannot drive a 365-day-a-year product with 17 Sundays in the fall, and the notion that the league is just about the game on the field died at the Cable Television Alter many moons ago. While cashing in billions in television contract revenue, the NFL has built a television network, a satellite radio network and employs countless writers, columnists, analysts and players-turned-personalities. The NFL turned its game into a TV show years ago and in so doing became a media company that all of its players and coaches work for. At that point the access that it’s provided to fans though all of the various media outlets have become infinitely more valuable. Heck, the NFL Network’s signature program is actually called “NFL Total Access”. The league isn’t even trying to hide the priorities here.

While Lynch may have created his own moment(s) with regards to this policy, it would be crazy to think that a league bent on nonstop expansion is going to curtail its access anytime soon. As media proliferates and the avenues with which the league can have its message heard increase, it’s only logical to think that coaches, players and executives will only be under more pressure to stand in the store-front window and wave at the passers by.

At the end of the day, Lynch stepped up to the podium at Media Day to say simply, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined” and it drew a crowd. Football fans in Seattle and elsewhere have some pretty strong feelings about what he said, why he said it and whether he should have had to say it at all … and he didn’t say anything.

So long as the passion runs so hot that NFL fans even have something to say about those in the league that do not, the NFL comes out on top.

Michael Grey

Taijuan Walker is one of the Mariners’ options for the fifth spot in what could be a stacked ...

Michael Grey

Shortstop isn’t the Mariners’ only intriguing position battle

While much of the attention will be paid to Brad Miller and Chris Taylor as they compete to be the Mariners' starting shortstop, Michael Grey writes that the more intriguing position battle is with the fifth spot in the rotation.

10 years ago

Taijuan Walker is one of three young players with MLB experience competing to be Seattle’s fi...

Brent Stecker

Mariners rotation should benefit from health, depth in 2015

With Hisashi Iwakuma healthy and three young players with MLB experience competing for the fifth spot in the rotation, the Mariners have a starting rotation in the conversation to be one of the best in baseball.

10 years ago

A healthy and productive season from James Paxton would make the Mariners’ rotation dangerous...

Michael Grey

Three keys for the Mariners to meet their lofty expectations

With expectations as high as they've been in a long time, Michael Grey identifies three things that must happen in order for the Mariners to meet them.

10 years ago

Brady Henderson

Should athletes not publicize their good deeds?

Michael Grey weighs in on what Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin told "The Barbershop" about why he doesn't draw attention to the good deeds he does in the community.

10 years ago

Running back Marshawn Lynch is mulling retirement, according to general manager John Schneider. (AP...

Michael Grey

Seahawks’ offseason plans hinge on Marshawn Lynch’s decision

With Marshawn Lynch mulling retirement, the Seahawks are faced with the possibility of having to make key offseason decisions without knowing whether or not their star running back will be playing in 2015.

10 years ago

Ensuring that Marshawn Lynch is on the roster next year should be Seattle’s top priority this...

Michael Grey

Lynch’s importance to the Seahawks makes this a pivotal offseason

In mid-November, I wrote about the danger of the "irreplaceable employee" and the situation that the Seahawks found themselves in with Marshawn Lynch. In the wake of their loss in Super Bowl XLIX, the Seahawks enter the offseason with a similar predicament and maybe even more on the line.

10 years ago

Though Marshawn Lynch says little, NFL still comes out on top