No one knew why Marshawn Lynch opted to blow off an opportunity to join his teammates in a White House ceremony Wednesday honoring the Seahawks for their victory in Super Bowl XLVIII. But his absence was notable enough to catch the attention of President Obama, who said he wished the four-time Pro Bowler had been on hand.
“I am sorry that Marshawn’s not here because I just want to say how much I admire his approach to the press,” Obama said, drawing laughter from the crowd. “I wanted to get some tips from him. It’s about the action.”
Lynch’s mother, Delisa Lynch, told The Seattle Times that her son didn’t attend the East Room fete because “he just didn’t want to go. No particular reason was given to me.”
While Lynch skipped the event, several ex-Seahawks who played prominent roles on the Super Bowl team did show, including RT Breno Giacomini, who signed with the Jets in free agency; WR Golden Tate, who signed with Detroit; and DE Red Bryant, who signed with Jacksonville after becoming a salary-cap casualty.
Delisa Lynch said she watched the ceremony and texted her son about Obama’s comments. Lynch reportedly responded “laughing out loud.”
Lynch typically shuns interviews and public appearances. In January, he faced a $50,000 fine from the NFL for refusing to engage the media throughout the season. When the fine was disclosed, just before the Seahawks hosted the New Orleans Saints in a divisional playoff game at CenturyLink Field, Lynch finally showed up for a mid-week Q&A at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in an obvious attempt to avoid further financial penalties.
Lynch answered nine questions. None of his responses ran longer than a sentence. One response was one word.
In the days before the Super Bowl, the Pro Football Writers Association released a statement bemoaning the lack of access to Lynch, who finally made two appearances in front of cameras.
“I’m just here so I won’t be fined, boss,” Lynch said. “That’s the only reason why.”
When Lynch was threatened with the $50,000 fine — which was not invoked — Sportspress Northwest asked fans to weigh in on whether the penalty was fair, and whether the league should rescind it. By a margin of 91.02 percent to 8.98 percent, voters said the league should drop the fine. Many comments said the media “should leave Lynch alone” if he didn’t want to talk, and the league “had no business” fining players who elected not to speak, even though media cooperation is a fixture in the standard player contract approved by the players union.
Now Lynch has blown off one of the pinnacle moments in Seahawks — and Seattle pro sports — history, which begs the question: