Let Marshawn be Marshawn

By Sam Deal, Sports Editor

The NFL needs to start taking care of Marshawn Lynch.

In a year where the public perception of the NFL has been under constant scrutiny, the league has an opportunity to show that it actually cares for the well-being of its players. Instead they appear to be trying to bully their employees with fines and scare tactics.

After the Seahawks’ playoff win against the Carolina Panthers, a watery-eyed Lynch asked reporters, “Are you really going to try this again? I don’t know what to tell you. I guess I’m just thankful.”

This was just the latest battle between Lynch and the media. The sheer awkwardness showed how this is more than just a game the Pro Bowler is playing.

NFL players are required in their contracts to “make themselves available” to the media twice per week, but in the case of Lynch, the league needs to step in.

Instead of attacking its own player, the NFL needs to put its money where its mouth is and actually protect the player.

Lynch was also recently fined over $30,000 for obscene gestures during touchdown celebrations.

The NFL’s obvious bully tactics aren’t working and are examples of how the league will ignore personnel problems until they blow up in their face.

Lynch does not represent a secret guild of players determined to overthrow NFL policy. He is simply a man who prefers to be left alone.

“I ain’t never seen no talking win me nothing. I’ve been like that since I was little; I was raised like that,” said Lynch in an interview with NFL Network’s Deion Sanders.

On Jan. 11, Seahawks fan Wendi Bromlie started a petition titled “Enough is enough! Stop bullying Beast Mode,” with the intention of using fans to help shield Lynch from media and the NFL. Over 50,000 people have signed it at the time I am writing this.

Players are required to speak to the media partially to give fans more access, yet in this scenario, the fans are attempting to give the player the protection he obviously wants.

Targeting Lynch has not created any change but instead has made for terribly uncomfortable experiences where reporters are forced to do their job and he is forced to give five-minutes worth of one-word answers.

Putting unnecessary stress on a man who is known for dominating the football field, yet was almost in tears because a camera was in his face, seems to go against the NFL’s message of player safety.

It is time for the NFL to take care of Marshawn Lynch.