In the vast US sporting landscape, the month of January is unique. It is the month seemingly overrun with a singular professional athletic event: the NFL Playoffs. Though admittedly rusty on the current ins and outs of the National Football League (perhaps a result of the perpetual heartache bestowed unto me by my beloved New York Jets), I’ve noticed that the month has already seen many of the game’s marquee names from the (last) decade spattered across airwaves and sports pages: Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers, Richard Sherman, et al.
Another such name from the season’s playoff conversation is Marshawn Lynch. Otherwise known as «Beast Mode», the talented, ferocious-on-the-field Lynch has been nothing short of a bonafide enigma throughout his decade+ career. Now on his second stint with Seattle’s Seahawks organization (with whom he won the 2013 Super Bowl and returned to in a losing effort the next year, alongside the previously mentioned Richard Sherman), Marshawn Lynch remains one of the games most colourful characters (look no further than his including US President Donald Trump), the reclusive, yet imposing 1.80m/(98kg) Running Back has consistently found himself the center of many current ideological and experiental battles fought across the United States media, political, and sporting spheres.
Interestingly enough, it is in this constant media-specific discourse where the off the field Marshawn Lynch perhaps holds his most influential actions. Back in the aforementioned Super Bowl run 2013 season, Lynch decided to stop talking to the media altogether (at least, on the record). In the US, of course, not treating your media obligations, especially as a star athlete, is met with severe financial consequences and an invitation for the abundance of speculation that comes with it. Most of Lynch’s public press responses were single words or succinct phrases: «Yeah», «I’m Thankful». His 2015 response Super Bowl media scrum, «I’m just here so I don’t get fined, bro», cut deep into the media’s insatiable hunger for narrative control, and with Lynch being a prominent African-American figure, exacerbating the underlying, unspoken racial …
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