Love it or Hate It: Marshawn’s Media Standoff Is Classic SB Week Distraction

In “Love It or Hate It,” “D and Davis Show” co-host Ken Davis breaks down the most controversial topics in the sports world.

Indifferent, that’s how I feel about the entire Marshawn Lynch media fiasco this Super Bowl week…kind of fitting, huh?

Strong arguments have come from both sides of the debate but maybe because I’m not quite a journalist and definitely not an all-pro running back with a checkered past, its hard for me to find an absolute truth in all this. I’d presume I’m not alone, there’s really only a few actual players in this whole melodrama.

The details: Lynch answered “I’m just here so I won’t get fined,” to every question he was asked during Tuesday’s media day event for Super Bowl 49. Some reporters were enraged by what they perceived as a lack of respect and professionalism by Lynch. NFL players former and current — such as Cris Carter and Charles Woodson — expressed their belief that the NFL should not force players who do not feel comfortable talking to the media or lack the desire to do that very thing, especially in a setting as picked over and over blown as Super Bowl media day.

During ESPN’s morning show “First Take,” one-time reporter and current debater Stephen A. Smith expressed his displeasure with former NFL players, many co-workers of his at ESPN, who sided with Lynch. Smith went on to explain that if players are allowed to pick when they are accessible to the media fans will never truly get all the answers they desire.

It is true that the once bulletproof sports media is not as much of a revered institution as it once was, nor is it simply as needed as it once was.

Some point towards Derek Jeter’s website “The Players Tribune” — mostly written and edited by professional athletes and whose mission statement is for players to connect directly to fans minus the media, add to that social media, which has actually done that same thing for several years now and completely democratizes the process of fan-hero interaction.

At Thursday’s Super Bowl media session Lynch again expressed his desire to not answer reporter’s questions or even be put in a position to have to answer. Lynch spoke to how he doesn’t understand what the media desires from him, he was even a bit playful —  giving shout outs with the new catch phrase “What up African?” Ha, you have to love that one.

Truth is, in spite of his stand-off with the traditional NFL media, we’ve seen much of Lynch’s playful side this week. Maybe you saw him and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski playing next-gen Mortal Kombat X with Conan O’Brien (hilarious). Or maybe you saw him serenading Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child during her privileged few moments with the bruising back.

Lynch has had some off the field issues, but in more recent times he has been lauded for his generosity to communities such as those in his hometown of Oakland, Buffalo and now in Seattle. That side of him brought out the closest thing to an olive branch that existed in his Thursday session when he offered an invitation to an unknown media member to visit him in one of those “inner cities” and ask him questions there, ideally at a charity event or football camp.

Look, at its core this whole Lynch vs. the Media conflict is a classic Super Bowl week distraction but its not a complete waste of time as it has propelled a discussion with valid arguments on both sides. Still, unless it is funny or controversial I could care less about what anyone has to say and I think most people who follow the NFL and don’t report on it feel the same way. I may be a tad morally bankrupt or indifferent in feeling the way I feel, but hey…so are most NFL fans, how else can we follow a sports operation followed by this guy.

When taking into consideration Stephen A’s points, as earnest and valid as they may be, you also have to wonder if his true frustrations are due to a new generation of athletes actively setting limits on him and his industry. Any human being who loves their craft would take issue with someone trying to damage or limit it.

On the other side there is reason to feel for a man such as Lynch who is being so obviously forced to do acts that have no real bearing on the work he aims to do. But as ancillary as talking to the media may seem to a trained athlete there are expectations of how an athlete should interact with the public and as annoying as they may be the press he receives weekly does act as an extension of the public which allows him to be one of America’s most talked about and potentially prosperous figures.

I find Lynch’s actions funny as hell, but they’re not professional, that is just the truth. Placed in a situation to report on him, I guess I’d be a little ticked off, but then again my job is to explore more angles and report on what I see regardless of what degree Lynch assists me.

Now lets stop all the seriousness, we’re all forgetting that its Super Bowl weekend, one of the most joy-filled times of the year. After one-and-a-half weeks of Deflategate and Marshawn’s non-answers it is finally time for the damn game, enough of this filler.

With that said, shout out to the Africans, by that I mean all of us. Let’s keep the peace.

Follow Ken on Twitter @ThatsDavis, “The D and Davis Show” on Twitter @DAndDavisShow and Regal Radio @regalradio1 and on Facebook under Regal Radio

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