His aggressive, on field "Beast Mode" personality speaks volumes, but off the field, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch prefers to let his actions speak for themselves.
Which is to say media relations is not his thing - or is it?
Last week, the NFL fined Lynch $100,000 for not talking to the media. So when Lynch actually opened up to reporters Sunday after the Seahawks’ 19-3 win over the Arizona Cardinals, the result was decidedly entertaining, though no word on whether it met standard under the NFL’s media policy.
So what media relations lessons can be learned from watching Beast Mode’s sudden thaw to the press?
- SHOW UP: Lynch has made a habit of dodging the media — not exactly a sound strategy for clients being sought after by reporters. Avoiding the press can inadvertently suggest guilt or imply a negative message. By taking the time to sit for questions, however painful they may have been to him, Lynch diffused what's become an uncomfortable situation (for seemingly everyone) and appeared to be making an effort. Depending on the situation, and with good preparation, meeting with the press can be advantageous.
- BE BRIEF: While Lynch’s one-word responses (“Maybe” and “Yeah”) don’t exactly make for great sports copy, he responds to each reporter’s question using his Super Bowl-level brevity skills. PR lesson: Answer the question, stay on message – even if it is “no juice” – and wait for the next question.
- WORK THE CLOCK: It works on game day and at press conferences. There’s no shame in not filling the entire interview time with the sound of your voice. And if you have to wait for the reporters to come up with their next question, so be it. Lynch gives his response then patiently waits for that next question.
- BE RESPECTFUL: Winning a clutch game always helps lighten the mood, just like answering media calls on a positive topic (your organization just won a major grant!) makes talking to a reporter a little more enticing. Lynch would probably just as soon be on his way after the big game Sunday, but he pleasantly – bemusedly? — fielded reporters’ questions. His smile, along with a touch of humor, helped make a tense situation a little less stressful for everyone in the locker room press huddle.
- FASHION MATTERS: Yep, you need to look professional no matter what your vocation. Lynch represents best in his uniform, but for post-game interviews, players are on their own. So, about that hat....And at the end of the day, he’s Marshawn Lynch. He drags whole defensive lines down the field on Sundays. You gonna tell him his hat is out of place!?
OK, so we're having a little fun with Lynch's press conference. But there's always something to be learned from watching these kinds of activities unfold - in case you're the one in front of the reporter next time. #maybe #yeah
(Go #beastmode and #GoHawks!)