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Park: A man of few words and many actions

Do-Hyoung Park

Marshawn Lynch is just “all about that action, boss.” He’s also thankful that you asked. And just here so that he won’t get fined. And sometimes, he’s quite simply “yeah.”

We’ll never know why Pete Carroll didn’t give him the ball down four points at the Patriots’ 1-yard line to likely win the Super Bowl, but even without a Lombardi Trophy-winning score on his resume, the crotch-grabbing, defender-trucking former Cal running back has quickly rocketed to the top of the NFL’s notoriety list due to his antics both on and off the field.

I personally think it’s hilarious that his propensity for goal-line crotch grabs made it so that 114.4 million viewers were intently trying to will a grown man to touch himself on national television, but even that has really paled in the wake of the outcry — both positive and negative — over the cold shoulder that he has been giving to the media.

Honestly, I think Lynch’s moves are calculated and direct and I seriously wish that more athletes would be like him.

Don’t get me wrong; athlete interviews will always be the foundation of sports journalism. That much will always be fact. And some athletes are always happy to talk to the media and give journalists exactly what they want. But I hate how the athlete interview so often — especially in media day settings — turns into a formulaic session in which nothing new gets added to the picture and reporters are just clamoring for a token cliché three-second sound bite to add to their portfolios.

“How are you liking the Super Bowl?” Why would you even ask this question? Do you honest-to-god think that an athlete is going to say anything different than something along the lines of “It’s a blessing … it’s awesome … it’s like nothing I could ever have imagined …”?

“What do you need to do to help your team win?” Come on. You’re asking Marshawn Lynch, the running back, about what he needs to do to win? Oh, I don’t know, maybe run the ball? But I’m no expert, really.

Sure, you could argue that it’s part of Lynch’s job to talk to the media, but he’s doing just that. He’s already talked to the media hundreds of times before, and he’s already given them exactly what they want — just months or years earlier. They’re asking him the exact same questions, phrased slightly differently over and over; I can see why he would think that it’s not worth his time. Frankly, I’m surprised more players haven’t been this way.

It’s really just farcical. It’s an absolute waste of time when these athletes could be spending their time doing something more useful, like eating Skittles, or, you know, actually practicing football or something. Richard Sherman hit the nail on the head when he asked why players need to deal with this nonsense multiple days a week when Roger Goodell can just kick back and avoid talking to the media for as long as he wants.

So I think that’s what this is: it’s not Lynch just trying to be a dick, or trying to be funny or even trying to get out of his media obligations anymore.

It’s his protest against the establishment (Stanford activists, of course, know all about that — too soon?). He’s just being less forward and more cheeky about it than Sherman. And you know what? Even if most people don’t realize it, it’s working really damn well. Because everybody’s attention has been drawn to Lynch and his press conferences, and everybody who knows anything about the NFL is talking about it.

When he feels that an interview is valuable and actually does add something new to the equation, Lynch is more than happy to oblige. Recall that in the middle of his “yeah … yeah … yeah … yeah … yeah …” interview, when he was asked about his charity work, he actually gave a (more) straight answer. And when ESPN wanted to do a video segment about his famous “Beast Mode” run against the Saints, he happily obliged and actually gave a pretty decent interview. And he actually did a joke press conference for Skittles. And he did an interview with Deion Sanders before last year’s Super Bowl (but to be fair, when Deion Sanders wants to talk, you talk to Deion Sanders).

What I’m saying is that when there is something to be added to the conversation, Lynch will have no problem adding to the conversation. And when there’s nothing to be added, he’s bringing attention to a glaring double standard while simultaneously being entertaining. I’m surprised more of the media hasn’t gotten it, and I’m surprised that the media lets it get to them so much. Sherman, Russell Wilson and others are more than happy to talk; don’t get on Lynch’s case for not playing into your charade. I know I wouldn’t.

Don’t try to tame the Beast Mode — just sit back and enjoy the show.

Do-Hyoung Park is now encouraging all Stanford student-athletes and coaches not to talk to the media under any circumstances. Let him know how quickly his sports section will fall apart at dpark027 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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Do-Hyoung Park

Do-Hyoung Park

Do-Hyoung Park '16, M.S. '17 is now the Chief Operating Officer and Business Manager at The Stanford Daily. He's also a Bay Area-based freelance sportswriter. He previously covered Stanford football and baseball for five seasons as a student and served two terms as sports editor and four terms on the copy desk. He was also a color commentator for KZSU 90.1 FM's football broadcast team for the 2015-16 Rose Bowl season. He covered the 2016 Minnesota Twins for MLB.com and has also contributed to The Bootleg and SI's (now defunct) Campus Rush. Hire him at dpark0027 'at' gmail.com or send him snarky Tweets @dohyoungpark.