Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is essentially pleading the fifth in his dealings with the media. Lynch, who was fined $50,000 for not speaking with the media during the season, has said next to nothing during Super Bowl week.
During Media Day on Tuesday, Lynch answered questions for just over six minutes. Yesterday when asked why was he attending media sessions if he wasn't willing to open up Lynch stated, "So I won't get fined. That's the only reason I am here, boss."
Lynch's teammate Richard Sherman is far from being shy about speaking his mind to the media. Sherman is believed by some in the media to talk too much while another contingent suggests Lynch is not talking enough.
Can anyone say balance?
Even though Lynch and Sherman are the extremes with respect to disclosing to the media, one has to wonder if Lynch is doing the right thing by virtually remaining silent.
Should Lynch be forced to speak more?
Obviously Lynch is uncomfortable speaking to the media. He has very little to say at this juncture because he's a man of action. Let's not get it twisted -- he may have a lot to say but he apparently doesn't feel comfortable disclosing to a contingent that, at least to some degree, does not truly understand him.
Stay with me here.
Typically individuals disclose to those whom they are comfortable interacting with. The greater the level of trust, the greater chance one is willing to disclose. Lynch simply doesn't feel he's able to trust the media to let them in. It's plausible to infer that part of the reason for Lynch's reluctance is the lack of diversity that exists in sports media.
Let's face it folks, the sports media is a lily-white world. According to TIDES (The Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports) suggests the latter assertion to be true. TIDES reveals over 90 percent of the circulation A newspapers in this country are owned and controlled by whites.
More specifically the report revealed 94, 88, 89, 90 percent of the sports editors, columnists, reporters and editors were white. The latter positions are responsible for disseminating stories to the world.
Percentages indicate diversity is clearly lacking and sorely needed in sports media. The NFL is nearly 70 percent African-America,n yet sports media is a largely a white world. If the media was more diverse in its storytelling by inducing more African-Americans to become writers perhaps Lynch would feel more comfortable with the media.
As a result of the racial disparity, both consciously and subconsciously, it can invoke the use of stereotypes to define a group of athletes that are largely misunderstood.
Some think Lynch is not articulate because of how he expresses himself. I beg to differ. Muhammad Ali could barely read or write yet he was able to forge a relationship with one of the most articulate and cerebral sports journalists ever, Howard Cosell. Ali had a gift and possessed a natural intelligence -- he wasn't necessarily book smart but he was people smart. Ali and Cosell were a great team because Cosell took time to understand Ali as a person which ultimately built trust.
Being African-American and in the media I can understand how Lynch could be uncomfortable. If one is dealing with an entity that's not ethnically balanced it's logical to infer that entity lacks sensitivity to certain issues that can arise with regard to race.
In Lynch's world he is understood by those who understand him but in a segment of the white world of sports media he is clearly misunderstood.
So long as Lynch is complying with NFL rules his controlled silence should be sufficient. I personally believe he should continue to exercise his right to speak or not to speak.
Besides, when deeds are strong words are not necessary.
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