Context and Perspective Key to PFWA Issue With Marshawn Lynch
Don’t think it’s a big deal that Marshawn Lynch doesn’t want to talk to the media?
That’s fine. That’s great. That’s your right. It’s probably the majority opinion held by players, fans and (yes) even those in the media at-large. However, it’s also tone-deaf and lacks any semblance of context, perspective or—for that matter—any hint of anything less than the self-importance that people are accusing the PFWA of this morning.
Right now, we’re talking about a snow storm in the southern states. Atlanta, Charlotte and many other southern cities have been “blanketed” by a inch or so of snow and it has literally shut crap down. People slept in schools, stores and in their cars last night. Meanwhile, northerners are completely over-the-top beside themselves at the “weaklings” to the south who can’t handle “a little snow.”
Well, that’s nonsense. The context and perspective of a snow storm in a southern state is completely different than in a place where civic and private enterprise is prepared for snow. An inch of snow in a place with snow tires, treated roads, salt trucks, sand trucks, plows and drivers used to slick conditions. One look at highway photos…or even a first-person account from a former northerner in the south, should be enough to make someone empathetic.
An inch of snow in Minnesota closing down an entire town would be ridiculous. When it happens in Atlanta, that’s just the way it is.
For the PFWA and its writers, access to Lynch and his peers is of the utmost importance. When one’s job is inherently tied to access, it makes access an important thing. For fans, or those in the media (like me) who don’t particularly need, want or even care about that access, it’s a different story. Yet, I can remember a time when a core function of my job was grabbing 2-3 minute sound bites from athletes to play on the radio. If I failed—to get anything or anything of note—it was a wasted day and a long 2-hour drive back from Minneapolis with my tail between my legs.
It mattered to me, back then, when Vikings PR would stonewall me. It mattered to me when players wouldn’t just decline interviews, but then would turn around and do an interview for a bigger radio station or whatever outlet the attractive female was from. It mattered to me when players would hide out in the showers until the media filtered out—every single week.
This isn’t a “you’re not a real writer” argument like some on Twitter have already accused me of making. Nor is it somehow a slam at bloggers as someone will almost certainly take it. What it is, is an admission that different people have different perspectives and value different things, and a plea to take two seconds out of your own personal paradigm to understand why someone might think differently.
It doesn’t matter to me now, but it matters to a lot of people who cover the NFL as means to feed their families and keep roofs over their heads. The PFWA fights this battle more often than you might think, and they’ve fought it with Lynch a number of times. It is, literally, the reason the organization exists—”The Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) is the official voice of pro football writers, promoting and fighting for access to NFL personnel to best serve the public.”
You don’t care? That’s fine. Just, maybe, understand why other people might.