Super Bowl 49: Marshawn Lynch’s Media Day Defiance Exposes NFL Hypocrisy


Football fans have learned a lot about the inner workings of National Football League this season. Most of it has not good.

After a well documented lawsuit in which the League was accused of turning its back on the growing medical concerns of its former players, the NFL had to deal with three major scandals that pushed the leagues administration into the spotlight.

The details of the domestic violence, child abuse and deflate gate scandals this season are well documented and won’t be discussed here. However, the manner in which those scandals were managed by the NFL brass calls into question the ethics driving some of the decisions made as a result of that management.

Under commissioner Roger Goodell the league has been unbalanced in their handling of the major issues confronting football. They are quick to act on issues involving branding, uniform violations and advertising while the epidemics of domestic abuse and concussions are left unattended for years.

There is no better illustration of this than recent controversy surrounding Marshawn Lynch.  The Seattle running back has been under pressure from the NFL this week regarding his uniform and press appearances.

Prior to the NFC championship game Marshawn Lynch was threatened with ejection if he went forward with his plan to wear custom-made gold cleats during the game.  Lynch relented and wore his regular neon green cleats as to not adversely affect his teams chances at a second straight Super Bowl appearance.

Then came the well publicized battle over Marshawn Lynch’s mandatory press appearances Super Bowl week.  Lynch, who had been fined before for not speaking to the media, was reportedly threatened with a $500,000 fine if he refused to attend a 4.5 minute Q & A with the media. His highly publicized responses during the media sessions of “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” had players and pundits debating the validity of the NFL’s rule regarding press coverage.

At further issue is Marshawn Lynch’s choice of head-gear during the pressers.  The Seattle star running back was wearing a Beastmode baseball cap from his own clothing line.  A violation of the NFL’s uniform policy making him subject top yet another fine.

If $500,000 for a missed media session sounds like a lot of money it is. Especially if you consider the fines given to other NFL players in recent months.  Ray Rice was originally fined just $58,823 dollars for his role in the domestic violence incident with his prior to the 2014 season.  Adrian Peterson’s fine issued by a Montgomery county court for his role in child abuse charges….$4,000. Peterson was not fined by the NFL.

To be fair Peterson’s and Rice’s suspensions for the entire 2014 season cost them a combined total of roughly $8 million dollars but both initial penalties were far less than those used to threaten Marshawn.

Critic’s of the NFL have long labeled it a league built on greed rather than the virtues they hold out to the football crazy American public.  Given the leagues unbalanced approach to handling discipline it is hard to argue with them now. It makes you wonder if the NFL would be receiving the same criticism if acted as proactively toward the other scandals as they are toward Marshawn Lynch.

Although probably unintended on his part, Marshawn Lynch’s defiance through the media covering Super Bowl 49 is putting a spotlight on that unbalance. I just hope the media can start to look beyond the superfluous banter and start to focus on the hypocrisy of NFL leadership.