Originally posted 2015-01-30 16:13:54.

lynchThomas J. Wolf | www.amdlawgroup.com

The Super Bowl is set to be played this Sunday, February 1, 2015, and while many are wrapped up in the deflate-gate controversy surrounding the New England Patriots following the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts, some are still left scratching their heads concerning Marshawn Lynch’s presence (or lack thereof) in the media.

The NFL’s media policy recognizes that cooperation with news media is necessary to continue the growth of not only the brand, but the players, coaches, and franchises.  To that end, the NFL mandates that after a short waiting period at the completion of games, the locker rooms will be opened up for accredited media personnel to have access to coaches and players.  Further, the policy states that “players must be available to the media following every game and regularly during the practice week as required under their league rules and their contracts.”  However, it does not necessarily state to what extent players must be available after each game, and Lynch as certainly walked a fine line when dealing with the media this season.

Although not his first controversial interaction with media sources, in November, Marshawn Lynch left the team locker room following a loss and neglected to speak with the media.  His decision to keep quiet cost him $100,000 (more than a full-year salary for the average working person).  In the weeks since, he has graced the media with his presence by speaking to the media in single, consistent answers to the variety of questions asked of him.  Even during media day this week, Lynch gave a brief statement pointing out the absurdity of the continued media attention, despite his unwillingness to cooperate, and proceeded to “shout out” cities, towns, people, teammates, cultural heritage.

Now, certainly I do not understand the life or demands of a professional athlete.  However, it is understandable that one does not want to have cameras and microphones forced in their face immediately after finishing a shift of work, let alone taking portions of their hard-earned paycheck for wanting to keep to themselves.

All of these things put together beg the question whether the NFL’s media policy has reached an absurd level of intrusion.  Surely, the NFL has a legitimate interest in continuing the growth of their brand, especially in the wake of the seemingly endless amounts of controversy throughout this past season.  But at what cost does this come?  To what extent should that brand-growth be permitted?  Should we permit them to continuously exploit their players to the point of irritation, as it seemingly has happened with Marshawn Lynch?  Or should the NFL roll back its strict policy regarding media access, and encourage players to interact with the media rather than require it?

For any questions or comments, feel free to contact Thomas J. Wolf at t.wolf@amdlawgroup.com

Resources:

 

NFL Media Policy – http://www.profootballwriters.org/nfl-media-policy/

Marshawn Lynch Fined $100K for Avoiding Media –http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000430995/article/marshawn-lynch-fined-100k-for-avoiding-media

Marshawn Lynch Media Day Interview – http://espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs/2014/story/_/id/12248321/marshawn-lynch-seattle-seahawks-offers-statement-media-answer-questions

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