Marshawn Lynch has a relatively simple job. He is required to: 1) Run with a football while other men with similar mutant-like powers try to hit him as hard as possible; 2) Stay out of trouble when not running the football; 3) Answer trite questions from the media describing what it was like to run said football, while wearing clothing that is sponsored by corporations who have financial relationships with the NFL. For these tasks, which carry the risk of debilitating injury and/or sheer boredom and aggravation, Lynch was awarded a four-year $31 million dollar contract with a six million dollar signing bonus. A pretty good gig if you can get one of 1,696 such positions that exist in the world.
As far as job task number one, Marshawn Lynch is great. A man his size shouldn't be so fast and nimble, and for the sake of his opponents, angry when carrying the ball. He reminds me of Bo Jackson, by that I mean Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl. Sometimes he makes opposing defensive backs look like toddlers playfully trying to bring down their father in a game of living room football. He's pretty damn good.
However, off the field, probably a bit more so than most of us, he's been so-so at best. In 2008, he pulled a punk move and drove away after hitting a woman with his car while leaving Buffalo's entertainment district. He says he didn't know he hit anyone, which tends to be the case when you're drunk. Then he caught a gun charge, followed by a DUI a few years later, which caused him to miss his foundation's (Fam 1st Family Foundation) football camp, which is the organization's big event. Anyhow, no one was hurt in the incident and Lynch issued an apology shortly after.
But he struggles with the media, recently reminding them of his dislike by repeating "I'm here so I won't get fined." And football fans largely respond in two ways. They either eat it up, as if Lynch is the defiant employee sticking it to The Man, or just see him as another spoiled athlete. (There's also a small but vocal-behind-the-safety-of-a-computer minority who call him a thug, which is pretty much today's N-word, just not the one with the cool "a" ending.)
I align more with the second group. I've had a bunch of jobs that required me to do monotonous bullshit that served a larger purpose. For example, I was the rare heterosexual greeter at The Gap. My job was to say "Welcome to The Gap," like it was a damn amusement park, and wear Gap clothes while doing so. Silly? Of course. But I had to follow the rules of the job, rules that I knew existed when I signed up for the gig.
This continued in Corporate America. I worked for a Roger Goodell type (talk about an asshole) in the healthcare field who micromanaged me and assigned tasks that I felt were below pay grade and capabilities. But he made the rules. And I knew that when I sent him a resume to get the job that he was offering. Despite the minor stresses, I was glad to have the job, much more so when he fired my black ass for carrying out the tasks with an attitude that I considered silly, sort of like Lynch is doing now.
I'm no sympathetic figure and neither is Lynch. He's a millionaire who doesn't enjoy a relatively minute part of his job. It's not social anxiety. If so, he probably wouldn't give a Skittles press conference or accept endorsements that require him to speak. It's not just about wanting teammates to get credit for their play. If so, he wouldn't celebrate touchdowns by grabbing his nuts--which is hilarious but also attracts attention to himself that he supposedly doesn't want, as does the way he carries himself during pressers.
Lynch's interaction with the media is simply rich guy privilege. He possesses a rare athletic talent that helps to produce a lot of money for a lot of people, though the dreaded media also has a hand in that. In America, this means Lynch and others can avoid showing basic human respect to those well below his pay grade and generally get away with things that we commoners can not. It's not admirable. It's not deep. It's not even interesting anymore. It just reeks of another rich guy acting an ass.