Yesterday, Marshawn Lynch attended Super Bowl Media Day and, true to form, didn't have much to say.
As this great piece lays out (and we'll return to this in a bit), Lynch was never all that talkative in the first place. And given that he had been fined $50,000 for refusing to speak with the media throughout the season, though later the fine was rescinded, anyone who expected him to show up at Media Day and spill out something transcribe-worthy was blind to his past.
But somehow, the crustiest corner of NFL media found a way to get to the butthurt because he wouldn't talk to them. Seriously. On Super Bowl Media Day, the guys with the access to the players couldn't find anything substantive to make their jobs easier so they went straight to the emotion bin to pull out some anger/has a sad to go with their self-righteousness and point fingers at Marshawn Lynch.
This was the actual statement from the Pro Football Writers Association:
The Pro Football Writers of America, the official voice of pro football writers fighting and promoting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public, is extremely disappointed in the lack of meaningful access to Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch at the Super Bowl XLVIII media day on Tuesday.
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.
First off, the "best serve the public" trope is some old-school self-fellating inflation of what journamalisms mean for a topic like the NFL.
That aside, their disappointment is extreme. It was a total lack of meaningful access. Forget that all the meaningful access they had to everyone else produced such insightful questioning including asking Broncos O-lineman Louis Vasquez who the sweatiest person he's ever blocked was or if he had anything to say to Justin Bieber.
But not getting questions answered from luminaries like Gregg Doyel? In his words, it was "humiliating." And of course it is! He's an NFL correspondent, for God's sake. Show some reverence, Marshawn. I mean, Doyel is used to a certain level of fealty obviously.
Band greeting the media at Super Bowl media day. After our police escort. Ahem. pic.twitter.com/APkaQN7aAR— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) January 28, 2014
Police escorts. What looks like the Canadian Mounted Police Marching Band. I'm assuming the right of droit du seigneur. It's all part of the package when you're a provider of COLUMN.
Doyel was right about one thing:
It was a stalemate of stupid.
Absolutely. Stupid to try to force someone to say something, stupid to expect it and stupid to try to wring some level of interest from the public who you best serve per the PFWA credo.
The model's changed. Max Mercy was the villian in control. Now having shed the villainy, the codger-hearted base of NFL media is worried about losing the control part too. THEY MUST HAVE ACCESS! TO DO WHAT? WHO CARES. JUST ACCESS. NOW. FOR WORDS.
Here's a phenomenal read at the mothership on Lynch and yesterday's goofiness from Brian Floyd done without any access. That's a skillful effort without the need for some useless direct quote pulled in person. Doyel and the PFWA, led by President D. Orlando Ledbetter, need that access to serve the public. Which is why when Ledbetter, who covers the Falcons for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (gee!), asked general manager Thomas Dimitroff and newly hired assistant general manager Scott Pioli about forthcoming changes in responsibility in the front office and didn't get a response, he was furious. He was appalled by Mr.
Lynch’s Pioli's conduct and refusal to answer any questions I'm sure. I'm sure.
So just bear in mind that, yes, most of NFL media suck. But a lot don't. The Silver piece was great. Bernie Miklasz is as good as local gets. There are plenty more. It was just pretty damn funny that yesterday's Lynch spectacle came down to this:
People want to bitch that Lynch is "making it about himself" but it’s just media bitching THEY can’t get a canned non-answer to a question.— Alfie (@AlfieBCC) January 29, 2014
Consider yourself served, public.
Right. pic.twitter.com/OK9olosQhq— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelCBS) January 28, 2014