NFL Is Showing Its Age And Cultural shortcomings Again By Fining Marshawn Lynch For a Crotch Grab

It was a subtle but scintillating move that reminded us all that Michael Jackson was a man not a Martian. How could he moon walk and cut rug without crotch-grabbing?

That piece of musical history alone and the influence MJ had on generations of music fans should be enough to give Seattle Seahawks media-whisperer Marshawn Lynch a pass for grabbing his crotch during last week’s NFC Championship Game.

Who was badder than Beast Mode late in the game, when he dragged Packers defenders across the field like sacks of potatoes in a garden? MJ would have given that performance two crotch-grabs and a white-glove thumbs up.


Beast Mode Dont Speak The Kings English

In fact, most Seahawks fans of any ethnicity would understand the accusation that the NFL is riding Lynchs jock with all of these warnings , fines and threats against a guy who brings so much excitement to NFL Sundays and is the most notable back in the league.

I guess with so much venom being spit at the NFLs beloved Patriots, the league had to refocus some energy on the real bad guys of the league by fining Lynch $20,000 for making an obscene gesture, last week as per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

What if Lynch said it was a Michael Jackson tribute? Would that make it all good? Its not like anybody needed to explain to me why Lynch cradles the family jewels after achieving the ultimate success on a football field (in this case it was a go-ahead TD in a Division Chip game). This latest one wasnt even as pronounced or graceful as the fully exposed, flying flash he gave the fans against Arizona. It was mild. He could of had jock itch for all we know. 


Schefters cool, but his grasp of African-American culture is probably a bit rusty. Besides for the fact that crotch-grabbing was a mainstay in MJs artistic arsenal, break dancers used to regularly go from backspins and windmills into the crotch grab back in the 80s. It often accented a big-time maneuver or the ending of a funky fresh routine, to let the audience and the sucker-competition know what a particular break dancer thought of his opponent.

EPMD told y’all to Get the Bozak and it made them platinum artists at a time when hip-hop was still seeping into mainstream society. Anyone who understands black culture and artistic expression understands that the grabbing of ones crotch isnt really about sex. Most of us dont even recognize it as remotely vulgar. Young men see the male organ as a symbol of strength and a potential nightmare of weakness. It is the area on the body that most people equate with superiority.


The act of grabbing ones genitals is as much a part of the black machismo as gangster leans and slang. Like most African-American male artistic tendencies, the crotch grab has spread to female rap artists like Lil Kim and Niki Minaj and eventually into the mainstream pop-hop scene, with young influential white artists such as Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber getting their crotch-grabs on.


When executed by these female artists, the maneuver is seen as an act of shocking empowerment and a symbolic warning of a changing time; highlighting the growing equality, strength and superiority of women in music and society.

Beiber was letting you know that he was the new King and was walking an immortal musical path. It was a moment that shouldnt be sullied by any social media piranhas or the politically-correct police. It is what it is.


That NFC Championship game was one for the ages. It was a fitting, crotch-grabbing moment for Seattle. Emotions were at a fever pitch and the Seahawksas evidenced by Russell Wilsons classy and tear-filled post game interview with Erin Andrewswere extremely emotional and channeled those feelings into an historic comeback in a game everyone thought the Packers had wrapped up .

Lynch was really just showing NFL Nation who the King of Pop- and-get-Rocked was that day. It was another glorious and typically cocky moment in a Seahawks run that is approaching historical proportions. The gesture was simply Lynchs MJ moment. He gave the Pats, The NFL and The Mediabasically anyone that cant get with his no frills nature and is on his jock for his unwillingness to hold a piece of steel and spit bars at a press conference the Bozak.

Walls Closing In On Beast Mode?

Rumor has it that Lynchs act is wearing thin in Seattle and despite his unquestionable robust productivity, his cat and mouse game with the media and his refusal to honor the terms of the collective bargaining agreement and his lucrative contract and answer reporters questions is a bad look for the organization.

The Seahawks surely dont want a repeat of last Januarys Super Bowl Media Day in New Jeru, when Lynch was clad in shades and a hoody, standing in the cut and spent the session behind a barrier talking with teammates, autographing a football a young fan threw to him and speaking only to Armed Forces Radio (which I felt was a classy move). He ignored many other questions asked from a distance by reporters and left for a short while before returning.

That was a form of crotch-grabbing right there and if the NFL didnt understand Lynchs posture and silence, The Pro Football Writers of America did and they released a statement saying it was ” extremely disappointed ” with Lynch’s behavior during Media Day.

“Several of our long-standing and high profile members were appalled by Mr. Lynch’s conduct and refusal to answer any questions,” the statement read, per ProFootballTalk.

Lynch did give them the 6:00 of participation that he is required to give, as NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Around The League in an email, but Lynchs entire anti-media demeanor hasnt gained him any fans on press row.

In his only one-on-one interview with NFL Networks Deion Sanders, Lynch schooled Deion on his commitment to silence.

“I ain’t never seen no talking winning nothing. Been like that since I was little. I was raised like that,” Lynch said. “I’m gonna get it. Don’t need to talk about it.”

The NFL’s head of officiating told ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio at Pro Bowl practice Saturday that the Seahawks have been warned that if running back Marshawn Lynch makes an obscene gesture after scoring a touchdown or at any other time during Super Bowl XLIX, the team will be penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. If he does it after scoring a touchdown, that means they will kick off from the 20-yard line.

Lynch has now been fined twice for grabbing his crotch after scoring touchdowns. He was fined $11,050 for making the gesture on a backward dive into the end zone in a game against the Arizona Cardinals in December.

Have you ever seen a guy get such a bad rap without ever saying a word? Now Lynch is being painted as a point-scoring, pavement-pounding pervert and a celebrity recluse.


An NFL official also told Schefter that the league is considering fining Lynch “significantly more” than the $50,000 it has fined him in each of the past two seasons for not speaking to the media, something Lynch again declined to do after Sunday’s NFC title game.

There would be increasing fines for each session Lynch misses, an NFL official said, with each fine being more than the two $50,000 fines already imposed and the upcoming fine that is expected soon.

A lot of people respect Lynch for sticking to his beliefs and presenting himself as a laid back beast of a football player who is not comfortable feeding into the media hype which can often provide opponents with motivating bulletin board material.

Others feel that Lynch is bringing more attention to himself and becoming a bigger distraction with his antics in avoiding media contact, than if he just spoke his mind, accommodated the women and men trying to do their jobs and kept it moving. Its not like hes the starting QB or anything, but when he makes himself the story by dissing the press then this is what we get a crotch-grabbing conundrum that The Shadow League has to break down like a James Brown bridge for those not familiar with the indigenous and tribal tendencies of the original man.


Its odd that Lynch has been crotch-grabbing for a while and now is the time the NFL decides to turn up the heat on him. I guess Tom Brady cant be the only superstar entering the Super Bowl under duress and with his character being questioned.

Even more odd and grossly hypocritical is the fact that after fining Lynch for the gesture, the NFL decided to commemorate the moment. People were able to buy a plaque that features the Seahawks running back making that exact gesture. In true jive turkey fashion, the NFL was basically saying, “Don’t do that anymore, but since you did we are going to capitalistically and profit off of what we also deem to be offensive and detrimental to the image of the NFL.”

From a corporate and business standpoint it makes sense that Lynchs days with Seattle are probably numbered. The Human Headcrack has played nearly a decade in the NFL as a featured power back and hes amassed over 10,000 yards of total offense (running and receiving). History tells us that he is on the down side of his career despite amassing a hardbody 1,306 yards this season.

Lynch spoke with former teammate Michael Robinson in a radio interview that was taped in late 2014. When asked if he might retire after this season, Lynch said, “I’m still under contract. I ain’t even made it through this year. I’m chasing after another one of these [points to Robinson’s Super Bowl ring from last season] right here.”

Lynch is scheduled to make $7 million next season and count $8.5 million against the salary cap in the final year of a four-year deal with the Seahawks. They could use that $8.5 million to improve the team in other areas and sometimes personalities just dont mesh forever.

Supposedly, Lynchs relationship with HC Pete Carroll isnt that peachy either. They dont really communicate and dealing with Lynchs stubborn and eccentric ways can be frustrating for any coach. Lynchs saving grace is that he is a warrior and his dedication to his teammates and the task at hand is undeniable. He displays the type of heart and will that makes a coach describe his behavior as unusual instead of calling a spade a spade and admitting that Lynch is just an ass at times and you take the good and bad with him.

In December, Lynch was asked why he rarely speaks to reporters, something that caused him to get a $100,000 fine from NFL the previous month

“I ain’t got nothing to say,” Lynch explained. “All that is superficial to me.

Lynchs crotch-cupping is as big a statement as any reporter really needs. If you read between the cultural lines, you can come up with your own Lynch quote. Be vexed at him for not keeping it classy with the media, but lets not make The Super Bowl about a brother in a 70- percent black league and the ambiguities about his chosen form of his cultural expression.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.