The Super Bowl is one of the best times of year in the sports world. We get to see some of the best athletes around compete for the biggest prize in football. The other fun part is getting to hear from the athletes themselves. To find out about their backgrounds, what makes them tick and why they became football players in the first place. That is if they are willing to talk of course.
Such was not the case for Seattle Seahawks star running back Marshawn Lynch. He decided instead to act like a petulant little child when it was his turn to speak to the media. It may be a harsh way to describe his actions, but that is exactly what it reminded me of – a kid who was forced to do something by an authority figure who decided to act out instead of doing what he has to do. He is just like the kid who is forced to stay at the dinner table until he eats all of his vegetables, but he just sits there. He is much like the child who is forced to go out with his parents, but clearly doesn’t want to be there and his actions show it.
“I’m just here so I won’t get fined” isn’t even close to the appropriate response when people try to ask you questions and I am sick of people trying to defend it. I’ve heard things like, “He’s a football player – why should he have to talk to the media if he doesn’t want to?” or “It’s his right to speak or not – we can’t force him.” I don’t agree with either of these things. He is an employee who is told he has to do something whether he likes it or not and it’s part of the job. We all have things at work that we don’t like to do, but we do them because it is part of our job requirements. If any of us acted the way that Lynch did with the media, chances are we would be punished or even fired. But he can get away with it because he is a special athlete who is an absolute beast on the field – so he gets a pass.
The sad part about the whole situation is the opportunity he passed up to make a difference to those who look up to him – and trust me, there are plenty of kids out there who do. He could have talked about hard work, dedication and never giving up when times are tough. He could’ve taught us about overcoming adversity and turning weaknesses.
Instead, he chose to show us all about the entitled athlete. The athlete who feels like he can do what he wants to because of his abilities on the field. He showed other wanna-to-be stars that the rules don’t matter as long as you can play. He showed us that his agenda was more important to him then the process or his team (who had to answer plenty of questions about him when they could’ve been sharing their own stories). And for that, he should get a pass.
People pay ridiculous sums of money to see these athletes perform – so why not let them hear from you too? Plenty of fans want to hear what you have to say and you have the chance to give back. When you get paid millions of dollars to play a game, that’s the least you can do.