Wednesday, January 28, 2015


The NFL — it's big business, earning billions annually. The grand final of the NFL is the Super Bowl, these days played around the first Sunday in February. The Super Bowl has become so big that television viewing clocks in around 35% of all Americans (about 112 million).

In the two-weeks lead-up to the big game, which will feature a contest between the NFC conference champs and last season's Super Bowl winner, the Seattle Seahawks, against the AFC conference champs and often-embroiled in cheating scandal controversy, the New England Patriots, a sports news media circus gathers. A media day gets held during which media entertainers known sports writers get to interview players.

Part of the overall work contract between the NFL owners and the union of players requires players to give interviews. One player, Marshawn Lynch, particularly does not like giving interviews.  During his required five minutes, Lynch answered every question asked of him, "I'm just here so I won't get fined."

No one should be forced to talk. That is why firms hire PR guys.

Not every player seeks to parley camera time into commercial endorsements of products or a future in sports broadcasting. Some players merely want to get paid to play professionally and when their play days end, they want to walk away in silence.

Marshawn Lynch signed a contract to play football. Lynch didn't sign a contract to work as a promoter for the NFL to ensure high viewership ratings for TV, which support future TV contracts worth billions of dollars.

When NFL execs punish guys like Lynch through fines under the guise of violating the collective bargaining agreement, in essence what these "adults" have said, "We don't have a clue about marketing, so we're relying on players and their iconic imagery to promote the league's sport."

In his way, Lynch has given plenty for others to talk about. His defiant quirkiness might have boosted ratings for this Sunday's game a tad.

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