BY Steve Rudman 09:43AM 01/05/2014

Not Talking Costs Lynch $50,000; Is It Fair?

Talk might be cheap, but not talking carries a $50,000 penalty. That’s the amount the NFL fined Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch for not talking to the media.

The NFL reportedly fined Marshawn Lynch $50,000 for not talking to the media. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Talk might be cheap, but not talking can carry a stiff price tag. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL slapped Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch with a $50,000 fine for not talking to the media this season. Lynch, who had confined his public discourse to his “Stop Freakin . . . Call Beacon” TV and radio commercials, bantered briefly with reporters last Friday, but his brief comments came too late to suit the PR-conscious league, which requires that its players engage the media.

Lynch ran for 1,257 yards and scored 14 touchdowns (12 rushing, 2 receiving) for the NFC West champion Seahawks (13-3), who will host the New Orleans Saints in a divisional playoff game Saturday at 1:35 p.m. at CenturyLink Field.

But Lynch did not share his thoughts, either after games or in regularly scheduled weekly interview sessions, until the Seahawks made him available for questions Friday. This is the transcript from that session (questions are in bold):

(On how he is feeling…) “Smooth.”

(Thoughts on how the season has gone…) “We’re doing pretty well.”

(If it helps to have the extra week off before playoffs…) “Yeah rest helps.”

(What rest can do…) “It helps refresh your body.”

(On how it feels going into the playoffs…) “I feel good. I like our chances.”

(On getting the running game going last week and whether there was something different…) “It’s just all of us coming together playing the game.”

(On what is it like working through practice this week not knowing who they play…) “We just took approach of not knowing just by playing against ourselves this week, just giving that kind of effort against the best defense.”

(On what can you benefit by doing that…) “When you get to practice against the best it brings the best out of you.”

(On his historical run the last time the Seahawks had a home playoff game and what does he have in store for next weekend…) “I just hope to win, boss.”

The NFL apparently felt the media and public suffered without additional Lynch enlightenment, which begs the question:



  • Big

    Well with the NFL fine and attorney’s fees for DUI defense ML has decided to stop the bleeding.

    • art thiel

      Don’t know that the one presser, for 1:13, will stop the bleeding. What is Marshawn going to do if the Seahawks make the SB, where every player is required to get to a podium in front of the world?

      • Big

        I think ML will get more speaking practice with the media after the ball game this Sunday.

      • jafabian

        Would Brandon Browner be required? That would be interesting!

        • art thiel

          Suspended players don’t get the privilege. But if he wins his second appeal . . .

      • oldfan

        If we make the Super Bowl will he be forced to answer the age-old question: “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?”

        • art thiel

          My favorite: “How long have you been a black quarterback?”

  • Roger Goodell is absolutely not applying rules reasonably. Aldon Smith is still playing the game after with all the crap he has going on, but Brandon Browner is out for smoking some pot. $50k fine for not wanting to talk to the sports press. Rules for contact that almost guarantee the destruction of anterior and medial cruciate ligaments. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

    • art thiel

      Well, yes. There some misapplication going on here. The contact rules are part of a transition to a safer game, with which I have zero problem. I’ve met too many damaged athletes to care about a few missed calls now, knowing the game has to change.

      As far as the fine, Lynch knew the rules, and the club reminded him. I personally don’t care if Lynch speaks to me, but his union agreed to the rule.

  • joe fan

    This is ridiculous NFL. Certain players are better suited to do their talking on the field, not off. A better policy would be say for the NFL to dictate that each team have 5 designated spokesmen, not including coaches. Other players can talk to the press at their option if they are comfortable. This fine is silly.

    • art thiel

      As I wrote above, it’s part of the rules to which the union agreed. The one awkward thing is that when a star like Marshawn doesn’t speak, other players are pestered about him. It would be a bit helpful to his teammates if he pulled on the media oar.

  • Its onlySports(DavidWakefield)

    The NFL…a multi billion dollar industry that takes great pains to promote themselves at every turn….they have themselves convinced players interviews help sell those over priced game jerseys for instance that they get a cut of…
    Lynch makes millions of dollars from us …as a Seahawk many fans idolize the man and I personally think a smattering of interviews over a 5 month season isnt too much to ask and the NFL apparently wants to market every player not just the talkative ones like Sherman…. It must be nice to be able to afford that…50g is worth it to Lynch rather than go thru what he feels are painful interviews that give insight into Marshawn the football player and the man.

    • art thiel

      If Lynch thinks it’s worth it, it’s his money. But if he doesn’t get fined, other players who don’t want to bother will also back away. By not taking his share of interviews, he’s shifting the load to others. Probably not a big deal. But a deal.

  • jafabian

    I get the impression that Beastmode simply isn’t comfortable talking with the media and I can understand that. Not everyone is blessed with the gift of gab. I think the NFL needs a little more empathy on their part. It’s not like you can take a course in college on how to conduct press conferences.

    • art thiel

      That’s closer to the truth, J. But the NFL and the union want all rules applied as uniformly as possible for all the obvious reasons. Marshawn could cover himself with a minimal amount of time.

  • Will

    Let’s see … there’s probably less than a dozen people in today’s media who ask reasonably good questions during press conferences with coaches and jocks. And, even good questions typically get “one game at a time” responses … besides, media hacks will write whatever they choose and, if they’re challenged as to their POV, they always get the last word so, I agree with Lynch about not talking … tho, from now on he needs to give yes and no responses.

    • art thiel

      I understand about dumb questions and lame answers. But there are plenty of good questions and smart answers that make for compelling stories. Lynch probably comes by his skepticism honestly. But in his first two years, he was fine and I think treated well.

  • RadioGuy

    Marshawn Lynch is paid to play football, not to replace William F. Buckley, Jr. If a guy isn’t comfortable talking to the media (and I get the feeling Marshawn got burned in Buffalo), leave him be. Besides, it’s not as if the Seahawks are lacking for willing talkers.

    • art thiel

      Media interviews are part of the standard player contract and the collective bargaining agreement. That’s the only way the NFL has standing to fine. In general, it’s not a big deal to most of us in the media, because there are plenty of talkers. But it’s a shame, because when he talked the first couple of years, he was a funny dude. He’s plenty bright with a dry wit. He just doesn’t trust media.

      • RadioGuy

        I’ve heard that Marshawn’s a good guy in the locker room and he shows a certain charm on the Beacon commercials (guess he’s never actually had to call Beacon for work on his plumbing).

        If it’s only been the last year or so that he’s clammed up with media, I wonder what’s the deal? The DUI charge in NorCal? Or has he become sort of like George Hendrick, who was apparently a popular and vocal guy among ballplayers but silent as a sphinx among people with pens and microphones? Hendrick’s apparently opened up a little since he quit playing.

      • ll9956

        I think you have hit on the root of the problem. It’s on the players to request (demand?) that the union NOT agree contractually to require players to give interviews. They should be optional. What the NFL obviously doesn’t realize is that if their concern is PR, they have done extremely serious damage to their image in the eyes of almost all fans. Just look at the results of the poll.

  • oldfan

    Seems to me that most players answers most questions with vague, non-committal, generalities anyway (I think the NFL has a seminar on that for rookies) so I don’t think we are missing much.
    Marshawn doesn’t exactly seem the shy sort, so maybe he has a point to make by not talking. Maybe his silence IS a statement.
    Otherwise I have no problem with someone who openly disagrees with a rule and knowing take the punishment by choice. There’s a certain intergrity in that.

  • Greg

    So, is there a tally somewhere, is there a determined length of time that must be spent talking and are they going down the roster with every player? If it’s in everyones contract then why are we not seeing fines handed out like skittles? It just seems so petty.

  • canyoncoug

    Just out of curiosity, what if Brandon Browner goes to court with a defense of it’s legal in Washington State (and Colorado for Denver Bronco players) to smoke pot, so how/why is the NFL barring players from playing?
    Seems rather Draconian to me, not to mention outdated on how the NFL enforces their policy. Further, to cut down on injuries and make the game more creative and ‘fluid’, allowing pot use would help, eh?

    • art thiel

      Rules were agreed upon in collective bargaining, so it doesn’t matter that the state law permits MJ. Be happy about the principle, otherwise airline pilots could fire up a blunt while flying over Washington and Colorado.

  • Ruth Sain

    Lynch should not be fine the NFL should be he don’t need that on his mind , just football that’s should be on his mine!!!!!!

    • art thiel

      I don’t think this weighs heavily on Lynch. He’s known the deal all season.

  • Dave

    Art, it just doesn’t make sense to me that a player who is obviously a non-communicator is forced to speak to the press, laying out those phrases that are a waste of time for us to have to listen to (and causes us to further consider shutting off the T.V. when the game ends). I understand that they have to abide by the union agreement, but why did the union allow this to happen? What the hell is the NFL going to do with $50,000? Marshawn knows a lot of families (many are relatives) who don’t even make that much money in a year; why can’t he donate it to them or to their betterment? I can only picture Roger Goodell and his well-heeled staff saying, “Man, we have a lot more money this year with these fines than our budget originally laid out. Let’s go to the last restaurant in town we haven’t been to yet” (in the spirit of Incognito)? Shame on them.