RACHEL BELLE

Maybe Marshawn Lynch is just an introvert

Dec 15, 2014, 6:31 PM | Updated: Jan 9, 2015, 1:39 pm

On Sunday, Seahawk Marshawn Lynch did something he despises, that he rarely ever does: he gave an interview. (Photo by CC Images, Jeff)

(Photo by CC Images, Jeff)

On Sunday, Seahawk Marshawn Lynch did something he despises, that he rarely ever does: he gave an interview. It was at a fundraising event for his charity, Fam 1st Family Foundation, and he started the interview by telling the KING 5 reporter and cameraman to move back and give him some space.

By now everyone knows that Marshawn Lynch does not like doing interviews. During a recent interview, surrounded by microphones and digital recorders, Marshawn sat with his head down and answered nearly every question with, ‘Yeah.’ He was not being asked yes and no questions.

Marshawn’s silence has cost him $100,000, silence being a violation of the NFL Media Policy. And it’s been tough for the media to get to the root of his behavior. Days before the Super Bowl, Deion Sanders asked him, “You don’t like podiums do you?” Marshawn responded with, “Naw, it ain’t my thing.” Deion asked, “What is your thing?”

“Laid back, kick back, mind my business. Stay in my own lane.”

But I think his disdain for interviews is fairly simple: Marshawn Lynch is an introvert.

Susan Cain wrote the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking. Her TED talk on introverts has made her a national figure on the topic. She said introverts are often misunderstood and they can struggle to fit into a society that expects everyone to be chatty and gregarious.

“It’s a culture that values performance,” Susan said. “So a person who is comfortable in the spotlight, likes drawing attention to themselves, that is the person who we revere. Which makes it very hard for somebody who is on the quiet, thoughtful, cerebral end of the personality spectrum to find their place. The irony of it is, you look back for thousands of years and you see there’s been many contributors to society who have been the quieter, more thoughtful type of person. People like Moses and Buddha.”

She doesn’t think it’s fair that we expect so much performance from people who simply love their craft, be it a chef who prefers to hide in the kitchen or a football player whose passion comes out on the field.

“He has taken the unusual step of refusing to do these interviews,” Susan said, referring to Marshawn. “But the fact is, a third to a half of the population is introverted. So many of the most unlikely people feel all of these ways. So there are many more people who go and do the press interview, but are really uncomfortable with it, than we realize.”

The website MMQB reports that every Friday, Marshawn Lynch brings an impoverished child, and their family, to the Seahawks’ practice facility to show them around. The media are not invited to attend or do any stories on his outreach. And on Sunday, at his charity event, when he grudgingly did an interview with KING 5, the reporter noted that he doesn’t seem to like the limelight or any attention.

“I wouldn’t do this interview with you if I don’t have to,” Marshawn said. “I don’t feel this is really my calling to be sitting in front of a camera, to talk to you as a reporter or to talk to the camera, to go and get my word out. Because it’s just words to people. But when you are actually out there, in the field and in the streets, doing it, then they understand it. More than what I’m saying to this microphone right now.”

Susan said introverts need to use their skills and talents to navigate the extroverted world and that’s exactly what Marshawn Lynch is doing.

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Maybe Marshawn Lynch is just an introvert