It’s Super Bowl week and many people have been giving their opinions of Marshawn Lynch’s press conference. Here’s the backdrop:
- NFL players have in their contracts that they have to appear before the press and answer questions for at least five minutes.
- Lynch has been fined repeatedly because he hasn’t appeared after games during the regular season and playoffs.
- Many people have commented on this from many different fronts ranging from “It’s part of the job, he’s gotta do it”, to “If he doesn’t want to, change the rule”.
My quick take is a story. My first job was in Rome, NY at the local Burger King. We had a uniform we had to wear. Required. We were trained on what to say to customers. We were trained on how to make all of the food. Everything had a training manual. If you wanted to work for the BK Lounge, you needed to dress in their uniform and abide by the rules. Of course there were little exceptions. But for the most part, if you wanted to work for BK, you would do what the company asked.
As I grew up and worked in more relaxed atmospheres, I began to understand in any job where the non-negotialbes were and where the wiggle room was. One job in particular was the dress code. Isn’t it always in work? Dress was a bit more relaxed, but the requirements for my job weren’t. “Be on time.” “Use the tools or procedures a certain way”. Every job has rules and requirements for employment. Depending on the organization, there are certain spaces where there’s gray area.
Every job has things that we love and things we do because they are part of the job. Every job has those, “I think this is stupid, but my boss asked me to do it” tasks. We either do them and stay employed or don’t do them and risk being fired.
Marshawn Lynch E:60 Feature
Having said that, I really like Marshawn Lynch. The guy is amazing. Huge talent. Good heart. The kicker for me was a really cool story on E:60 about him. Watch it and get a window into his state of mind and heart. I understand in part why he’s not interested in talking to the media. I get that speaking to the media is not his favorite thing. Do you know what wasn’t my favorite thing when I was working at the BK Lounge? Cleaning the bathroom. But when my boss asked me to do it, I understood it was part of the job. So I did it.
One thing that frustrates me is the erosion of consistency. Many people have said in Lynch’s defense, “If he doesn’t want to speak, he shouldn’t have to”. Question: What if everyone on the team decides they don’t? It’s a slippery slope. What if I decided that I didn’t have to clean the bathroom at BK and the company said it was okay? What would my coworkers say/feel? Would they be able to get a “bathroom exemption”? What would happen to that bathroom if nobody cleaned it?
I know my bathroom illustration may seem silly, but for me, it boils down to a simple thing: Lynch signed a contract. He’s an employee of the Seattle Seahawks and the NFL. With it comes some really cool things he loves to do and is good at. And like any job, there are other things in the deal that come with the job we may not necessarily like to do or are even good at. We just suck it up and do it. Kudos to Lynch for coming out and saying the same thing for 5-minutes. At least he honored his contract.
Do you think Lynch should get an exception? What’s your take on this?