by Kent Sterling
Haters gonna hate, and Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has his share of haters because of his aversion to talking to the media.
What he said over the weekend to a Turkish TV network in his first meaningful comments about the controversial play call that led to a game-deciding interception in the Super Bowl win by the New England Patriots has stirred more debate about the mercurial star.
America was incredulous as Russell Wilson threw the ball rather than hand it to Lynch with less than a yard separating the Seahawks from a rare back-to-back championship. As you might guess, so was Lynch:
“To be honest with you, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I was expecting the ball. Yes, I was expecting the ball. But in life, these things happen. Like I told a reporter after the game, it’s a team sport,” he said in the interview.
“I had no problem with the decision of the play calling. I mean, you know, I think it was more of a … how do I say this? When you look at me, and you let me run that ball in, I am the face of the nation. You know, MVP of the Super Bowl, that’s pretty much the face of the nation at that point of time.
“I don’t know what went into that call. I mean, maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t get the ball. I mean, you know, it cost us the Super Bowl. I mean, I have full … I have full confidence in my teammates to execute that plan because we’ve done it so many more times. But would I love to had the ball in? Yes, I would have.
“But the game is over, and I am in Turkey.”
Now, instead of applauding Lynch for speaking his mind about the call and result, there are those who complain that Lynch kicked coach Pete Carroll and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell under the bus. Haters gonna hate, right?
If Lynch had said the Seahawks did the right thing by throwing the football, he would be seen is a player lacking championship competitiveness. That explains Lynch’s reticence in dealing with the media. When that media is annoyed with you, pleasing it is impossible, and Beast Mode knows that he will never be a darling of the Fifth Estate.
Talking to an obscure (to us) Turkish sports network rather than ESPN, Fox, CBS, or NBC did Lynch’s relationship with the American media no favors, but his comments were reasonable, well-considered, and thoughtful.
Lynch wanted the ball, as every running back should. The game was in the balance, and a historic moment was ahead. If Lynch scores to win the Super Bowl, he becomes an immortal in Seattle, and the media gets a bunch of nonsense from the guy who has suddenly become the NFL’s biggest star as they try to put together postgame stories.
Conspiracy theories are ridiculous most of the time, but is it impossible to imagine Carroll and Bevell allowing the consequences of Lynch assuming the mantle as the face of their franchise? Probably, but these are high-level thinkers who enjoy their own image as clever fellows. Maybe they didn’t factor in the full palette of consequences, but it’s hard to trust entirely their denials.
Lynch is honest, and people judge him. Lynch is secretive, and people judge him. Lynch does nothing but fulfill obligations in a way that keeps him from being fined, and people judge him.
Haters gonna hate.