Friday, January 30, 2015

2 comments Marcus Hayes Is Not Happy Marshawn Lynch Isn't Helping Reporters Gather Quotes; Lectures Him on Responsibility

Marshawn Lynch caused a firestorm by showing up at Media Day (it's capitalized because it's super-important and should be treated that way, except when the media who shows up don't treat it that way) and repeating the same answer "I'm just here so I won't get fined" almost 30 times. I personally would just answer the questions that the media has for me if I were Lynch, but I'm not Marshawn Lynch and no one is asking me questions. Lynch is putting himself in the NFL's Draconian spotlight by not answering questions and playing along. It's not a big deal, so I think he should just answer the questions. But of course, it's not a big deal, so who really gives a shit if Marshawn Lynch doesn't have much to say or doesn't want to say anything? I think reporters care more than fans do about canned quotes that can take up space in a column. If reporters are still relying on these canned quotes and think the fans really care about them so much that it's worth getting worked up when a star player won't talk, then I'm guessing that reporter isn't serving the needs of his readership as he should. That doesn't stop Marcus Hayes from accusing Lynch of making a mockery of Media Day (capitalized!). See, he thinks Lynch is shirking his responsibility to provide reporters who show up to Media Day with quotes so they can write stories. Lynch should work harder and show some responsibility so reporters who show up to Media Day don't have to work as hard to write the articles they publish about the Super Bowl.

What irks me is that Marcus lectures Lynch on duty and responsibility, as if he's skipping out on practice or going AWOL when serving in the military. Lynch is ANSWERING QUESTIONS. THAT'S ALL HE'S FUCKING DOING! This isn't a life or death situation where Lynch is not showing duty or responsibility. Let's keep the perspective that Marcus Hayes doesn't have about the "duty" that Lynch is shirking. I would bet fans don't care if Lynch answers questions or not. Fans aren't best served by getting canned quotes from players and it's a fallacy that fans will be pissed Marshawn Lynch isn't serving up cliches on Media Day. The only ones who care are the ones who accuse Lynch of having a duty to talk to them. Yeah, talking on Media Day is part of the deal, but it's not that important.

This is the same Marcus Hayes with the man crush on Pat Burrell, who also does not enjoy chatting about Chase Utley.

Marshawn Lynch literally grabbed his crotch to express contempt for the assembled throng of 200 media members as he made his way to his podium at the start of Media Day.

Not figuratively, but literally. It was literally the worst thing that Marcus Hayes has ever seen. 

For the next 5 minutes or so, Lynch figuratively grabbed his crotch to express contempt for the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell.

Lynch was required to be there in front of the media and he did his job. That was his duty and he did it. The NFL can't (and shouldn't) legislate what players say or don't say to the media on Media Day (capitalized!). NFL players are not children who need to be reminded to sit up straight and give a good answer. If a player isn't going to give interesting answers, most of the media will move on to other players. But not Marcus Hayes. He wants Marshawn Lynch to sit up straight, answer the questions, say "yes sir" and do his job of helping the media do their job. 

He was fined $100,000 in the past year for his lack of cooperation with the press, including a debacle at last year's Media Day. One report contended that the NFL threatened Lynch with a $500,000 fine if he acted similarly here.

Well, he acted similarly yesterday.

I disagree with Gregg Easterbrook on a lot of things, but the one area he makes sense when discussing (most of the time he makes sense in this area) is talking about how the NFL doesn't have to be popular. If the NFL wants to turn off fans quickly, start treating the players like they are children and becoming heavy-handed. Marcus Hayes is advocating this heavy-handed approach. Media Day is a joke. It's not to be taken seriously. It's a day where the players joke around and talk to the media before the Super Bowl. It's not 1975. If I want to read a quote from an athlete then there are plenty of places I can find a quote from that athlete. Players are communicating to fans directly through Twitter and fans are getting better coverage of their teams through independent web sites that cover these NFL teams. If Marshawn Lynch doesn't give a quote, who cares? There are 105 other players the media can talk to on Media Day. 

Lynch stayed on the podium for just under 5 minutes, the minimum required of him.
Or as someone who is less concerned with indicting Lynch for his every action might see, Lynch did exactly what was asked of him by the NFL. He showed up for five minutes. He did his duty and met his responsibility. 

He repeatedly droned, "I'm just here so I won't get fined," a phrase that trended on Twitter 1 minute after Lynch left the podium. He saluted himself on the big screen in the middle of the US Airways Center. Ever self-serving, Lynch was thrown a bag of Skittles candy, with whom he has an endorsement deal.

Marcus Hayes is bitching that Marshawn Lynch didn't make it easy for him to do his job and brings Lynch's lack of cooperation back to who he is as a person, but it's Lynch who is self-serving by publicizing a brand that pays him to publicize their name. For someone who Hayes will suggest lacks responsibility and a sense of duty, Lynch sure is meeting his responsibility and duty to Skittles.

With more than 57 minutes left in Media Day, Beast Mode entered Airplane Mode and ended all transmissions.

He was required to meet with the media for five minutes and he did that. So he didn't answer the media's questions like they wanted him to. He's a grown man. If the media doesn't find him interesting enough, move on, don't indicate that he lacks character or is a bad person. 

Media Day at the Super Bowl, an hourlong availability of essentially everyone of merit in both organizations held every Tuesday of Super Bowl week, seldom elicits any real information about players or their teams; but then, most interviews with NFL types elicit little information.

So what's the fucking problem? Marcus Hayes admits there is no real information elicited from the players or teams, then says most interviews don't elicit much information anyway. So what is Lynch doing that is so wrong? He's not withholding information, because Hayes doesn't expect much information. Lynch is doing what the NFL is telling him to do, so he's not violating their precious five minute rule on Media Day. What Lynch is doing wrong is not doing more than what the NFL wants him to do. He's at the podium answering questions, but not in the right way. Lynch is being insubordinate by not playing the game that the NFL wants him to play the game. Basically, Marcus Hayes is mad that Lynch isn't doing exactly what the NFL tells him to do outside of the obligation he has already met. Seems kind of Draconian to me.

The NFL has credentialed entertainment reporters and fostered a circus atmosphere, a circus the NFL now charges fans $28.50 to witness.

And of course within this circus atmosphere where the players are asked questions by people dressed up in costumes, these players must answer the questions in complete and compound sentences. Perhaps the players should talk at length when asked a question by a media member dressed up like a cartoon character. Because the event may be a circus, but the NFL wants Media Day treated like the holiest of football days and Marcus Hayes is toeing that NFL line for them. 

The availability has devolved to include guys who wear barrels over their bare torsos; Olympic skaters Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski asking fashion questions for NBC; and beautiful women in short skirts who salsa dance with Kam Chancellor.

Media Day is not to be taken so seriously as it is being taken by Marcus Hayes. It's fine for Lynch to be asked fashion questions by Olympic skaters, because the media doesn't have to take their holy day seriously, but Marshawn Lynch can't give non-answers to questions because that makes a mockery of the day set aside for the media to finally ask the questions they can ask every other day of the year to Marshawn Lynch. Marshawn Lynch isn't allowed to make a mockery of Media Day. Only the media can mock their day. 

But, be it cramped and hot and inelegant, Media Day serves its purpose.
If you need to speak with the kicker or the punter or the special-teams ace, you get that done at Media Day.

If your paper or website or station cannot afford to send you to the Super Bowl site for the entire week, you get all of your interviews done on Media Day.

Did Marcus Hayes really expect or want a quote from Marshawn Lynch? Does he think reporters are going back to their hotel rooms or the bar violently angry that Marshawn Lynch gave non-answers to questions and they only had 105 other players to talk to? Marshawn Lynch isn't a punter, kicker or special teams ace. He's been in front of the camera a lot in his career. 

Every player is contractually obligated to participate at Media Day.

Every player also is contractually obligated to interact with the press after games and during weeks of game preparation.

Lynch did both. He didn't do both to the satisfaction of Marcus Hayes, but he met his contractual obligation to participate in Media Day and interact with the press. In fact, I think most people will remember Lynch's interactions more than they will remember canned quotes from the other players participating in the Super Bowl. 

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, a master at gamesmanship and himself a reticent and often demeaning interview, yesterday fired this shot across the bow of SS Beast Mode:

"That's our role - to be the conduit between our team and all the fans - all of you that cover the team and the fans that read or watch or listen. That's an important part of the process," said Belichick, who lived and died on football news as a kid. "Having been on the other side of this . . . that's what I wanted. I wanted information. I wanted to hear what's going on. We provide the fans who are so interested in our team with information that makes it interesting and exciting for them. That's why we're all here."

This is simply laughable. You know the media is reaching to indict Marshawn Lynch when they start using Bill Belichick as the example of someone who understands how coaches and players are the conduit to the fans. Belichick rarely gives any relevant information in his weekly press conferences and repeated "We're on to Cincinnati" many times in a press conference earlier this year, which apparently qualified as doing his duty to meet with the media and give out important information as a conduit to the fans. But yeah, a Belichick quote talking about how information from coaches and players is important for the fans. Sure. Pot meet kettle.

And Belichick is wrong, which means Marcus Hayes is wrong. Belichick as a kid wanted information on players and now information like that is readily available through multiple web sites, blogs and online newspapers. No one needs Media Day to hear about what Jon Ryan has to say. They can follow him on Twitter. DeAngelo Williams of the Panthers did not speak to the media this year really. I barely noticed because he's on Twitter and communicated with fans that way. It's 2015. I don't need the media to get quotes from players as much anymore because there is a ton of information out there. 

That's why Lynch should be fined again; fined, at least.

If he is allowed to act this way, nothing would prevent other players - all players - from acting this way.

This is hilarious. "If Lynch is allowed to not speak with the media then every other player who doesn't like dealing with the media will not speak with us! Where will our stories and quotes come from?" 

If Marcus Hayes is concerned other players wouldn't speak with the media if allowed to do so, then maybe the problem lies not with the players being asked the questions, but with those people asking the questions. If Hayes is really concerned other players don't want to talk to the media, the issue for WHY they don't want to talk the media could lie with the media. Of course that's silly talk. A player's reluctance to speak with the media says nothing about the media and speaks only to the character of that athlete. 

Teammate Richard Sherman's contention that Lynch should be interviewed by a handpicked pool reporter is a typically Shermanian, unsophisticated solution: The best interviews grow organically, in the moment. Sherman, perhaps the best interview in the NFL, should know that.

Yeah, but little information is learned at Media Day anyway, right? Marcus Hayes said that himself. Lynch had a good interview with Mike Silver recently. It was a handpicked reporter and it was a good interview. Media Day isn't the time for an "organic" interview with the circus surrounding the whole event. Marcus Hayes knows that, but he's just trying to be difficult and act like Marshawn Lynch blew a chance for a probing, deep interview when this isn't true at all. 

Every player in the league who believes Lynch should not be fined should contribute his own money to his next fine.

Or maybe every journalist who wants Marshawn Lynch to do an interview should contribute his own money for Lynch to do an interview with the handpicked reporter of his choice. 

Lynch is loyal in the locker room and ferocious on the field, fully worthy of his "Beast Mode" nickname.

Also, consider their general profile: These largely are very young men whose talent has afforded them shelter and structure most of their lives.

This is as opposed to the reporters asking the questions who have lived a hard knock life of press box food and sitting down and writing at a computer for a living. 

I would bet many of these football players didn't have shelter and structure for most of their lives until they got to college. You can read in this story about all the shelter and structure Lynch grew up with. A father he didn't really know AND he got to move around with his three siblings multiple times? What a spoiled brat!

They are people for whom "hard work" equates to lifting weights and running sprints; for whom "commitment" means adhering to a loose daily schedule that tells them when to wake, when to eat, when to think; for whom "adversity" means being .500 midway through a season and somehow making the playoffs.

And this is as opposed to sportswriters like Marcus Hayes for whom "hard work" equates to sitting at a computer and meeting a deadline; for whom "commitment" means leaving enough time to eat breakfast and play some golf before making it to the 12pm weekly briefing with Chip Kelly; for whom "adversity" means having writer's block. Marshawn Lynch is a world-class athlete, so yeah, I would imagine mocking him for hard work, commitment, and overcoming adversity seems a bit funny coming from a sportswriter like Marcus Hayes. Marcus may need to find a mirror to see what kind of hard work and commitment he has made compared to a professional athlete, because I'm betting Marshawn Lynch has achieved something through hard work and commitment that few other people can ever achieve simply by playing in the NFL.

They know little of the real world and its gravity.

This is absolutely ridiculous. Marcus Hayes is obviously coming from the rough streets, unlike these pampered football players. A sportswriter lecturing professional athletes on the real world and the gravity of the real world requires no punchline. The lecture in itself is the punchline. 

Despite their existence in a universe parallel to most people's, they at least should understand the weight of obligation.

Lynch met his obligation. He met with the media for the required amount of time. It's still funny to read Marcus Hayes talk about the weight of obligations as if Lynch and other NFL players just always do whatever the hell they want. Meanwhile, as Marcus Hayes takes a paid vacation in Arizona, Lynch and his teammates are preparing night and day for one of the biggest games of their lives. Hayes' obligation is to not eat too much food off the hotel buffet in an effort to not feel bloated prior to his round of golf, which he must get finished before writing a daily column. Marcus Hayes KNOWS the weight of obligation. That golf swing isn't going to fix itself. 

Lynch's boycott of the press is no different from boycotting a meeting, a practice or a game.

It's entirely different. A meeting, practice or game is directly part of Lynch's job, which affects his teammates and their chances of winning a football game. Lynch not speaking at Media Day is part of his ancillary responsibilities which has ZERO effect on the Seahawks' ability to win the Super Bowl. This is how self-involved and little knowledge of the real world Marcus Hayes has. He's not doing brain surgery. He's taking words someone else says, writing them down and then telling everyone else what that person said. If an athlete doesn't want to speak meaningful words, few people care. 

What if he mailed it in at the Super Bowl the way he mailed it in on Media Day?

But he won't because he never has before. This is a ridiculous hypothetical because there's no comparison between a player boycotting the media and that player's performance in the Super Bowl, no matter how hard Marcus Hayes wants to try and tie them together in an effort to give himself and his job more importance. The way he's written this column shows Hayes has no understanding of the real world and its gravity. If he did, he wouldn't act like Marshawn Lynch committed a heinous crime.

He is contractually obligated to be present at both, to perform professionally at each.

It is part of his job, part of his duty.

And he did his duty on both. Maybe he didn't do his duty as Marcus Hayes saw fit, but that doesn't matter. Lynch was there and stayed in front of the media for five minutes. Instead of asking him questions you know he won't answer, maybe find another player to spend time with? Or is that too easy and wouldn't involve a sufficient amount of grandstanding? 

Duty should not be served. It is part of being a professional. It's part of being an adult.

Marshawn Lynch is neither.

Whatever. It's also not professional or adult to expect another adult to bow to your every whim simply because you want a juicy quote. 

As expected, his antics stole the spotlight from other, less distasteful distractions.

Why is Marcus Hayes acting like the media HAS to talk to Marshawn Lynch? If you don't like his answers, go interview someone else. Maybe the punter, kicker or a special teams player. Speaking of duty and obligations, doesn't Marcus Hayes have a duty and obligation to find interesting stories to write about? He's shirking that responsibility by insisting on spending five minutes with a player who will provide him with neither. So yeah, duty and about showing some duty and responsibility and finding another more interesting player to talk to, rather than antagonize a player who has nothing to say? 

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski created a stir by reading aloud from an erotic novel that starred a fictional version of himself. The erotica was poorly done and, really, coincidental.

The news was that Gronk can read.

Gosh, I can't figure out why Marshawn Lynch doesn't want to talk to the media. Why would that be when they are so kind as to call one of the athletes they are interviewing an illiterate? 

Spritely divas Lipinski and Weir, former Olympic skaters working the fashion angle for NBC, showed up in fabulous outfits. He had on a scarlet jacket over a silk shirt with a gemstone necklace, crammed his feet into 4-inch wedge booties and wore more makeup than she did.

The biggest diva in Phoenix was Marshawn Lynch, and the worst sort of diva:

I see what you did there Marcus. Though I would argue the real diva behavior is to expect a professional athlete to bow to your every whim and answer every question you have in the very manner that you expect it to be answered, and even though there are multiple other athletes you could choose to speak to, you throw a hissy-fit questioning the character of the athlete for not doing exactly as you say or want. That's real diva behavior.

He contends he wants no attention beyond the game-day adulation of his fans . . . then arrives for Media Day in sunglasses, a special (and possibly unsanctioned) Beast Mode hat.
So Marcus Hayes criticizes Marshawn Lynch for even doing his contractual duty of showing up for Media Day and answering questions for five minutes, immediately after claiming Lynch should have stayed longer and answered the questions while putting on a bigger show for the media. So if Lynch doesn't show up because he doesn't want attention, he's going to get fined. If he does show up then he's grabbing for attention by arriving in sunglasses and a hat. So either way he goes, he's going to be criticized. So why should I blame him for not speaking to the media again? 

Within an hour, the hat was available online for $33, touted as the one Lynch wore during Media Day.

It was the height of hypocrisy. Lynch was afforded a priceless, 5-minute ad for Skittles and New Era caps.

The height of hypocrisy is criticizing an athlete for not upholding his duty and responsibility when that athlete is getting publicity for a product he is paid to endorse, as well as wearing and getting publicity for the official hat of the NFL. How dare Marshawn Lynch use his five minutes at the podium to sell his sponsors' products when Marcus Hayes wants to use those five minutes to help his company sell his products! Such hypocrisy!

Both are corporate partners with the NFL.

Maybe the league should just call it even.

So Marcus Hayes is going to criticize Marshawn Lynch for meeting the NFL-mandated obligation to meet with the media, while claiming Lynch isn't meeting his duty and obligations. Then Hayes is going to criticize Lynch for meeting his duty and obligations as the employee of an NFL team by advertising for NFL corporate partners. I think I can see why Lynch hates the media. 

But no, really, it's hilarious to hear a sportswriter lecture a professional athlete about commitment, hard work and dealing with adversity. I can't seem to figure out why newspapers are dying...


Anonymous said...

Awesome takedown. Sums up the way I think most fans feel. I don't really care about anything that gets said on media day, but if I hear anything, I'd rather it be something the player or coach wanted to say (ie. trash talk etc.) rather than empty praise of the other team and cliches.

Chris said...

Where exactly does Marcus Hayes get off saying the kind of shit he does? He sounds like a very angry bitter man. I remember your takedown of him when he got angry with someone questioning Jimmy Rollins effort and flippantly suggested the person was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Now he decides to lecture Marshawn Lynch like he is a child, and he flat out says Lynch is not an adult, then treats Gronk like he is some illiterate simpleton.

I don't necessarily like Gronk just because the media's constant obsession with his relaxed, party lifestyle annoys the shit out of me, and yea Marshawn could probably just answer some of the questions people ask him once in a while, but the media imagines they are doing hard hitting reporting and they really just ask a bunch of bullshit that doesn't matter and has no bearing on the game. If someone asked most of the players I'm sure a vast majority would simply prefer to just be preparing for the Super Bowl as opposed to having a bunch of stupid questions by reporters dressed in wedding dresses.