Marshawn Lynch’s Interview On Turkish TV A Feast For Media Vultures


This is the 40-Something Files!

A weekly take on the state of Seattle Sports through the lens of a guy whose four decades of fandom has earned too many scars, and seen too few celebrations.

On the field of play, once upon a time, it was OK to take a loss as long as your team played their hardest and with dignity. The winning team extended a hand shake toward the losing one with honor. Friendly rivalries among fans of opposing teams rarely got personal.

This is how people behaved, out of respect for the ideal of sportsmanship.

Sportsmanship was a platform on which participating in sports or appreciating sports as a fan would translate into teaching moments for life in general. There was joy to be derived in all things sports because sportsmanship allowed all involved to hold their heads high, no matter the outcome of a game.

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman during the SBXLIX victory parade just before punching a poster of Richard Sherman in a public “display” of sportsmanship. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Sportsmanship has been dying a slow death.  I can’t begin to address all of the societal factors that, over time, have contributed to this sad truth. But I can point to one source that without shame promotes the destruction of sportsmanship for it’s own gain. It’s a game that doesn’t play out on a ball field, but rather on a keyboard or in the palm of your hand. There’s no opening tip, no final buzzer, and if you’re reading this, you’re playing. It’s safe to say, however, you’re not winning.

Social media is systematically stealing the joy from the experience of being a sports fan, because in the game where sports media types compete for your eyeballs, there’s little stomach for sportsmanship or the decency that it requires.

Trust me, I’m aware of the hypocrisy I could be accused of displaying.

I have written a piece here that will lean heavily on the constructs of Social Media for exposure, and yet I’ve just heavily laid into Social Media itself. I understand there’s no better source through which an unknown writer like me can try to garner interest in his work. But to go next level in this arena, using a formula many of today’s most clicked-on posters do, as a person who was raised to be a good sport, I just don’t know if that’s a game worth playing. 

More from Emerald City Swagger

As members of Seattle’s exceedingly tech-savvy sports fan community – most of us likely hailing from the region that houses Microsoft, Amazon, and Paul Allen (when he’s at home) – we are a desirable target for partakers of the media’s “clicks-at-all-costs” approach.

Add in the fact that many of today’s Seattle based sports figures (Sherm, BeastMode, Russell, Coach Pete, Kevin Durant – see what I did there?) are well established, hot subjects in the realm, then it stands to reason that “there’s clicks in them-there Cascade Foothills.”

Jump on Twitter, Facebook, or your favorite sports blog any time, day or night, and you are sure to catch a post going viral, touching on the hot Seattle-based topic du jour.

Unfortunately, once the carnival barkers of sports media zeroed in on Seattle as a tech-tastic target audience that stands by it’s “highly visible” sports characters as if they were family, well then that meant only one ingredient remained to ensure record snake oil sales:


For a prime example of this, just take a look at our man of the hour, Marshawn Lynch, in this clip (just in case you haven’t been lured into watching it already) from of all places, Turkish TV. Marshawn is seen comfortably participating in… wait for it… an INTERVIEW! (Gasp!) And to top it off, he’s being cool and accommodating to the interviewer.

Not too far between the lines of Lynch’s response lurks the notion that he buys in to the popular conspiracy theory (misguided as it may be) that the team wanted quarterback Russell Wilson, and not Lynch, to be the Super Bowl MVP and, in turn, the “face of the nation.”

First of all, I don’t know about you, but as a lay person (not an audio technician) who doesn’t speak Turkish, I just couldn’t understand much of what Lynch was saying, thanks to the noise pollution provided by the audible Turkish translator. I am not even sure I would have understood an English translation of Marshawn speaking Turkish, thanks to the production quality.

I point this out because this clip is ripe for misinterpretation and misdirection. Enter the click-trolling media types to slather the 12’s social media feeds with ire-raising posts like this:

Or Pro Football Talk’s giant leap, in which Mike Florio writes: 

“Not too far between the lines of Lynch’s response lurks the notion that he buys in to the popular conspiracy theory (misguided as it may be) that the team wanted quarterback Russell Wilson and not Lynch to be the Super Bowl MVP and, in turn, the “face of the nation.””

And with those blasts, a negative talking point was launched. This story, among all the noise that’s out there, was completely set up for the manipulative, self-important national media.

1) It was hard to watch, so not many people would be painstakingly glued to Lynch’s every word.

2) Lynch was only 1/3 of the players being interviewed and if you thought it was hard to follow what Marshawn had to say, you can imagine listening to anyone else with a Turkish overdub, when they had zero chance of saying anything anyone watching the clip wanted to hear.

3) They were motivated to make sure this didn’t go off smoothly for Lynch by the simple fact that he won’t speak to them, but he’s happy to speak to the media when it’s based outside of this country. They just refuse to accept that Marshawn feels harmed by the U.S. media, and as a self-respecting person, he’s willing to pay the price of making them pay the price.

And so, here we are, inundated with endless social media sources pyramid scheming a story line floated by one of the first national media sources to really push the video. Everyone just accepts it as fact that Marshawn is 100% feeling there was a conspiracy against him getting the ball on that final play, because Mike Florio of PFT said he saw it “not too far between the lines” of what Lynch actually said.

The Turkish interviewer did not follow up with Lynch to ask, “so what you’re saying is… The NFL conspired against you?”

And Marshawn didn’t follow up the interviewer’s non-existent follow up with an emphatic “EVET” (“YEAH” in Turkish).

So until someone does follow up and get it from the Beast’s mouth himself, how in the world does the entire internet just follow PFT’s lead, and tweet and post and retweet and favorite what Marshawn supposedly meant between the lines, until in less than 48 hours, it becomes fact? So much so, that it was even debated today by Seattle’s LOCAL sports radio hosts as if, “The NFL conspired against me,” was the direct quote from the interview.

It’s the result of a snake oil selling contest devoid of the principles of sportsmanship. It’s a formula capable of sapping the joy from any feel-good sports moment. Even one that is actually about NFL players doing some good over seas.

It’s simple. Gift a tweet or Facebook post a Seattle fan’s way, wrap it in misinformed outsider negativity toward a hometown player or team, and tie it up with a declarative headline bow.

Whamo! Click City!!!

Hmmm. “Click City.” Perhaps a deserving nickname to replace the outdated Emerald one, as a nod to Seattle’s passionate, emotionally invested, social media savvy sports fans.

Snake Oil Salesmen never had it so easy.

Sportsmanship never had it so bad.

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