Add one more to Marshawn Lynch's list of weird media interactions.
A month after the Seattle Seahawks running back gave the famous "Yeah" interview – when he answered most queries in the affirmative – he is back with another similarly bizarre exchange.
In the media session following his heroics in the Seahawks' impressive 35-6 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Lynch answered almost all questions thrown at him with a rather polite:
"Thanks for asking."
But those seemingly courteous answers were taken as disrespectful by the reporters who were seeking proper quotes for their stories. Instead, disappointed reporters had to go back to their editors with Lynch's robotic replies, which shed no light on his incredible performance.
This obviously isn't the first time it has happened and it won't be the last. Who is to blame for this mess?
Lynch obviously benefits from the mega bucks the NFL rakes in via their TV deals, yet refuses to perform his contractual chores in return. He has found a loophole in the system where he can avoid fines by just showing up in front of media personnel when asked. Now, his pay checks won't have any deductions, but the reporters are still going home with a major sense of dissatisfaction.
To them, it may have been funny at first, but it isn't now:
I can't believe the people defending Lynch for his interview foolishness. Answer the questions. That's all.— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) December 22, 2014
I will never understand why reporters and broadcasters cheer Lynch on for his post-game antics. He's making your job harder.— Jane McManus (@janesports) December 22, 2014
While their pain is understandable, Lynch's antics might be justified as well. Not everyone is comfortable with being cornered by a cohort of mic-toting men week in, week out – and especially after big games. Perhaps, a better setting for asking players for their views could be post-game pressers, which aren't rushed, take place after a fair bit of break and provide enough distance between the interviewers and the interviewee.
According to the 2014 NFL Media Relations Policy: "After a reasonable waiting period, defined as 10-12 minutes maximum after the completion of the game, the home and visiting team locker room areas will be opened to all accredited media with immediate access to all players and the head coach."
Football is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. Having your locker rooms raided like this by newshounds within minutes of exhausting encounters isn't ideal. After all, not many are accustomed to working their brains so soon after working their muscles.
If this physical discomfort and repetitive nature of questions isn't the problem, then as Dead Spin points out, the nonexistence of beat reporters could very well be the issue. In other sports, specialist reporters dedicate their careers to develop personal relationships with stars who then feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with them no matter how jaded their minds or bodies are. The same journalistic culture is missing in football.
It's easier to criticize Lynch in this case, but his is a reaction to a faulty media policy. One more mess for the NFL to sort out.