I know where Charles Haley is, and it’s not on the fast track to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Last time I checked in on Marion Barber he was flashing a loaded gun in church and was taken away by authorities for “mental observation.” And I have no idea the whereabouts or goings-on of Duane Thomas.
Why? Because all those former Dallas Cowboys made simple, selfish choices during their NFL careers. To be unprofessional. To be uncooperative. To be … Marshawn Lynch.
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Haley’s bitter, obscenity-laced tirades against the media during his playing days has doubt affected his ability to get enshrined in Canton. Barber was downright rude in offering “No comment” to interview requests during their time at Valley Ranch. And Thomas infamously spent Super Bowl 6 Media Day sitting silent and alone under the goal post, refusing to answer questions from reporters.
All the good they accomplished on the field is gone and forgotten, because they immaturely shirked the contractual obligations of their jobs as Cowboys and NFL players. Much like Lynch, who’s authoring his own script as a soon-to-be anonymous has-been that nobody gives a damn about. Or, thankfully, wants to talk to.
Lynch spent yesterday’s Super Bowl 49 Media Day responding to questions from reporters with – 29 times, mind you – “I’m here so I won’t be fined.”
Beast Mode, meete Least Mode.
Look, Super Bowl Media Day is silly. It’s a circus. But it takes a special kind of clown to ruin his own show.
Inexplicably, there are those this morning celebrating Lynch’s stunt, reasoning that he’s “sticking it to the man!”
The reality? Lynch is a selfish, disrespectful, disgusting, prima donna who doesn’t deserve all the NFL affords him.
His Twitter handle is @MoneyLynch. His Instagram features this welcome message: “I’m yo daddi” He skipped the Seahawks’ visit to the White House. He held out of training camp because, on second thought, he didn’t like the contract he’d already signed. He grabs his crotch after touchdowns, then Tweets that he’s “embarrassed to work for an organization like the NFL.”
Lynch, like Barber, is a ferocious running back who has convinced himself he can break rules as easily as he breaks tackles. He’s the jerk driver who comes upon a traffic jam and drives on the shoulder and through a grassy median to avoid it. He’s the guy who sits in church on Sunday but cheats on his wife on Friday, because The Bible is just a series of guidelines he feels privileged to customize and cherry-pick to his own desires. He’s the employee who shows up with his co-workers to re-paint the office on a Saturday, but then sulks in the corner and never lays a hand on a brush. He’s Spicoli in Fast Times At Ridgemont High, showing up to class as required but then ordering pizza, refusing to do homework and generally disrupting the advancement and betterment of his fellow students.
Why? Because Lynch’s ignorance and arrogance have convinced him that the rules don’t apply to him. Lynch thinks he’s better than the NFL’s 1,600 other players.
Guess what? He’s not.
Lynch voluntarily signed a contract that pays him $6 million this season to play football. Part of the duties of that contract is to cooperate with the media, which is the conduit to the millions of fans who buy tickets, watch on TV, purchase his jersey and, yep, allow owners to make enough money to be able to pay his salary.
Lynch wants to work at McDonald’s without taking out the trash. He wants a job at the bank, wearing sweats. And he wants to be married, but do only the bare minimum and when confronted by his wife respond with “I’m cuddling so I won’t get divorced.”
The rest of us realize that the world doesn’t work that way. There are obligations. There are responsibilities. There are “man, I wish I didn’t have to do that”’s. Unless you’re the boss or God or Mark Cuban, at some point you’re going to get told what to do and when to do it. It’s called life, and most of us don’t consider it a four-letter word.
Part of being a professional football player is dealing with the media. Nobody, remember, is forcing Lynch to play in the NFL. There are tons of professions he could choose in which no one from the media will ever ask him a question. May I suggest “Beast Mode” take his solitary surliness into the custodial arts?
His belligerent “Thanks for axing me that” won’t pack nearly the punch when it’s in response to his supervisor inquiring if he’s scrubbed all the toilets.
In stiff-arming the media, Lynch is alienating teammates left to answer for him and dissin’ the microphone that feeds him. If the media lost interest in the NFL today, the league would collapse tomorrow. No? Ask the XFL. Or the Ebola pandemic. Or Paris Hilton.
Some defend Lynch’s personal protest of the media because he’s shy, he doesn’t trust reporters or he has some social disorder or speech deficiency. Really?
I was driving a couple of weeks back and had the satellite radio on ESPN Xtra. It was a college basketball game between Washington and Washington State. During a commercial break, I heard a voice endorsing a roofing company in Seattle. One guess? Yep.
Seems Lynch’s stubbornness is mysteriously, magically cured by money. Pay him – like the roofing company or Skittles – and suddenly the questions posed aren’t so dumb and the answers become very audible.
Haley was a great pass-rusher, known now just as much for his negative interaction with the media. And Thomas was one of the best running backs of his era, but now he’s merely remembered as the guy who ignored the media in 1972.
With his surly, selfish silence, Lynch is ruining a chance to be remembered as a great running back. And a good guy.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.