Super Bowl Media Day is football’s annual circus, where the participating teams’ more popular players are trapped in their individual podiums as the flood of media members consumes them. All who are around find themselves caught in the cold undercurrent of clich√©s spiraling down to a mindless purgatory.

You know it’s a circus when the Entertainment Tonight decides to descend down to the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix, Ariz., to try their hand at prying the juicy sound bites out of the super secret players. There was also the world famous barrel man, who I initially confused as an oversized recycling bin for my empty Gatorade bottles.

Pick Boy from Nickelodeon is still around! Still alive! That guy started in 2002. He looks like he’s a 15th-year senior in college who downs a 30-pack of Keystone Light a day.

To top it all off, there was also NBC’s fabulous figure skating duo, Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski. I asked the Olympic figure skater if media day was the craziest event he has ever been a part of.

“Yes,” he replied, “and I’ve done some big s–t.”

Unbelievably so, the most fascinating thing about Media Day was waiting to see what Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch would do or say or both, when he rose to the podium and be bunkered down by the pressure cooker that is the press for the mandatory minimum of five minutes.

Lynch showed up, escorted by a posse of public relations reps, strutting over to his designated podium, met the media and responded with the same answer.

“I’m just here so I won’t get fined.”

Lynch blurted out that phrase over, and over, and over again. Once the timer struck, he yelled, “time”, dropped the mic, and disappeared.

On Wednesday, when he placed himself onto a different podium in a different place to speak with the media once again, he continued to revert to the same routine that has worked so well for him.

“You know why I’m here.”

Many members of the media justify their persistence with the “I don’t want to miss it when he finally says something” excuse. Well, he finally spoke on Thursday and everyone was there to witness his long-awaited statement.

“Hey look, I mean, all week I told y’all what’s up,” Lynch said. “And for some reason y’all continue to come back and do the same thing that y’all did. I don’t know what story y’all trying to get out of me. I don’t know what image y’all trying to portray of me. But it don’t matter what y’all think, what y’all say about me.

“When I go home at night, the same people that I look in the face — my family that I love. That’s all that really matter to me. So y’all can go make up whatever y’all want to make up because I don’t say enough for y’all to go and put anything out on me.

“I’ll come to y’all event. Y’all shove cameras and microphones down my throat. But when I’m at home in my environment, I don’t see y’all, but y’all mad at me. And if you ain’t mad at me, then what y’all here for? I ain’t got nothing for y’all, though. I told y’all that. Y’all should know that. But y’all will sit here like right now and continue to do the same thing.

“I’m here preparing for a game,” Lynch continued. “And y’all want to ask me these questions, which is understandable. I could get down with that. But I told y’all. I’m not about to say nothing. So for the reminder of my, what’s that, 3 minutes? Because I’m here I’m available for y’all. I’m here, I’m available for y’all. I talked. All of my requirements are fulfilled. For the next three minutes, I’ll just be looking at y’all the way that y’all looking at me. Thank you.”

Something happened before the 2014 Super Bowl in New York to cause this rift with the media. This was not the Marshawn Lynch that actually had fun with the media over the course of his NFL career. He participated in a funny bit with ESPN’s Kenny Mayne while in Buffalo. He enjoyed his time with John Brenkus and the Sports Science crew while pulling a sled with two monster tires shortly after his career-defining run against the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints in 2010. He had a little fun with the camera when interviewed by Fox during the 2011 preseason. He was engaging with a Japanese reporter and even taste tested foreign candy in January of 2014. Check YouTube, there is actually video evidence off all of this.

InOctober of 2013, Lynch sat down with ESPN’s Jeffri Chadiha before turning into this mythological monk he appears to be in front of the mass media. Like much of the African American players in the NFL — and even NBA — Lynch had to face the perception of being a “thug”, mainly because he’s black, from the inner city and got in trouble with the law a few times over time. Even a Stanford educated man like his teammate, Richard Sherman, gets branded by that label, even without the police record. It’s not a fair judgment, especially when passed down from the very people not qualified to make that type of character assessment.

“What I would tell them is,” Lynch said about the perception of being a thug, “I would like to see them grow up in project houses, being racially profiled growing up, sometimes not having anything to eat, sometimes having to wear the same damn clothes to school for a whole week and then all of a sudden have a big ass change in their lives. Like their dream come true and starting their careers at 20-years-old when they still don’t know s–t. I would like to see some the mistakes they would make.”

He actively and enthusiastically discussed wearing a grill — from its origin and the passion behind his hobby — with VICE Sports this past June. He appeared on two commercials for Skittles and Progressive mocking the very act that has enraged the media for the last two years yet wanting more. The people of Entertainment Tonight at least got him to sing with them a bit … for an Xbox 1 to give to his charity.

That’s another move the reporters tried to do; ask Lynch about his Family First Foundation, which is meant to help out inner city youth in his hometown of Oakland. His response to one of those questions was to come to those inner cites — the inner cities that many in the media and the public we serve fear and would never dare to venture into. Only then and there will anyone who is interested will get that in which they seek.

Looking at his prior interviews, to suggest that Lynch being a mute in front of the media is a sign of social anxiety is simply inaccurate.

“Why do you have to be a jerk to all of us?” That was a question that was asked on Wednesday and actually ignored completely by Lynch. He didn’t have an answer but from my observations, I think I do.

Why does he have to be a jerk to all of us? Because we are jerks, that’s why. Compound the media masses together and what you get is a gang of old, unlikeable, unattractive and completely judgmental jerks who are largely unaccountable with their unrelenting judgment on players. There have been many instances where athletes do something — from negative to perceptually positive — and be viciously criticized for it.

While ideal as it is to have a good relationship between writer and athlete, it’s been demonstrated before that a pristine public profile does no one good when controversy hits. Tom Brady has been the golden child for his entire career — a career that has spanned the current length of the 21st century — but deflate-gate immediately put all of that into question.

As a result of all this, you get this version of Lynch, Arian Foster’s “I’m just trying to be the best teammate I can be” act and the Russell Westbrook “execute” act followed by “I just don’t like you.” Sometimes a jerk deserves a jerk. Sometimes that what we end up on our television screens. Sometimes it makes for good viewing, but rarely do we as viewers take the side of the media.

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