I have been somewhat amused by the attention Marshawn Lynch is receiving for his reticence to speak with the media. The Seahawks’ powerhouse running back refused to grant interviews throughout the regular season. That taciturnity drew a $50,000 fine from the league. The NFL told Lynch he might be able to keep the money if he started cooperating with the press corps after playoff games, which he did. And he did participate in Super Bowl media day yesterday, but only minimally. Clearly, speaking with passion and spontaneity (and provocatively) can be a dicey proposition, as Lynch’s teammate found out recently. And sports media have complained endlessly in recent years about how pre-programmed and coached the bulk of star athletes sound when they utter one canned soundbite after another. With the raised eyebrows being directed to Lynch’s relative silence, I think we’ve covered most of the communications spectrum.
I suppose there could be athletes who speak in an impromptu way with honestly, forthrightness, while providing real insight but without ever giving offense. But that’s a narrow eye of the needle to thread.