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Jan 29 / King Kaufman

Marshawn Lynch: Obligated to speak, or a challenge for sportswriters to accept?

I admit I’m a little obsessed with the Marshawn Lynch story. I want Marshall McLuhan to write a book about the semiotics of Marshawn Lynch’s performance-art pieces, in which the Seattle Seahawks running back gives the same answer to reporters no matter what questions they ask him.

This week at Super Bowl Media Day, of course, Lynch’s answer to all questions was “I’m here so I won’t get fined,” though sometimes he threw in a “just” before “here.”

The sports media has been entertainingly up in arms about this, writing stacks of columns slamming Lynch for not giving them anything to write columns about. There have been occasional outbreaks of both sanity and idiocy.

At Awful Announcing, Brad Gagnon and Andrew Bucholtz wrote a point-counterpoint piece headlined Marshawn Lynch vs. the media: Who ya got? They also talked to me about Lynch and the media on my SiriusXM Bleacher Report Radio show.

Gagnon, who writes for B/R among other places, argued that Lynch is setting a bad precedent by refusing to speak in any meaningful way to the media, which his contract requires him to do: “If we shrug our shoulders and let Lynch go MIA, the floodgates could open up for players to blow off their media obligations going forward.”

Bucholtz, who covers the CFL on Yahoo Sports Canada’s 55 Yard Line blog, wondered how we’d be any better off if Lynch spouted meaningless platitudes instead of pulling his repetitive act.

I’m with Bucholtz, especially when he argues that an athlete not wanting to talk is an invitation to the media to break out of our packs and use our skills. “There’s no need to try to drag clichés out of an unwilling Lynch when there are better stories out there,” he wrote. “Maybe this will cause some to get creative and look beyond pack journalism and its clichés.”

Which is better, all those stories that came out of Lynch’s Media Day presser or this Seattle Times profile of Lynch from last year’s Super Bowl by Jerry Brewer? Lynch didn’t cooperate.

Here’s a great piece about Lynch from this year’s Super Bowl, by Andrew Sharp of Grantland. It’s an analysis piece, but note how much research went into it. And no cooperation from Beast Mode.