Marshawn Lynch has mastered the craft of being unforgettable.
The man that has given us things like 2011’s “Beast Quake” run and classic phrases like 2015’s “I’m just here so I don’t get fined,” saved his best moment for last when he shared a very special message for younger players in the NFL on Sunday night, in what may have been his final post-game press conference.
“Look,” he said, “I’ll say like this though: This is a vulnerable time for a lot of these young dudes, you feel me? They don’t be taking care of their chicken right, you feel me? So if it was me, or if I had a opportunity to let these little young [players] know something, I’d say take care of y’all money, African, because that [expletive] don’t last forever now,” Lynch explained as he only can.
“I’ve been on the other side of retirement and it’s good when you get over there and you can do what the [expletive] you want to. So I tell y’all right now while y’all in it: Take care of y’all bread, so when y’all done you can go ahead and take care of yourself.”
“So while y’all in it right now, take care of y’all’s bodies, take care of y’all’s chicken, take care of y’all’s mental. Because, look, we ain’t lasting that long. I had a couple players that I played with that they’re no longer here no more — they’re no longer — so you feel me? Take care of y’all mentals, y’all bodies, y’all chicken, so when y’all ready to walk away, y’all walk away and you’ll be able to do what y’all want to do.”
Translation: Take care of your money so that you and your family will be O.K. when it’s time to leave the game. Protect your body as much as your mind, because mental health is just as important as your physical condition. Invest in yourself now, so that you will be able to invest in other things later.
Sunday night was Lynch at his best, which is unapologetically awesome. And while he doesn’t speak often, when he does people listen. His words had even more impact when you realize that a lockout is expected to take place in 2021.
“What Marshawn said is a very important message for our members,” said Carl Francis, the NFLPA’s Director of Communications, to the Shadow League. “We actually created a work stoppage campaign last March during our representatives’ meeting educating members on saving your money, managing their finances, and monitoring their purchases. In the Fall, we created a work stoppage manual for players to use when making financial decisions throughout the year. And as part of our next collective bargaining agreement, we are requesting that players be paid over 52 weeks vs. 16 weeks as a way to help them manage their money during the year.”
“We need more veterans such as Marshawn and others speaking to other players about being financially responsible during the careers,” he continued. “Peer-to-peer messaging is a key piece to getting players to understand the importance of saving their money.”
The last lockout was back in 2011 and took place from March until July of that year, as no regular season games were impacted. However, that CBA is getting ready to expire as the two sides will head back to the negotiating table. The last time the league had a strike was in 1987, leading to games being canceled and replacement players being brought in.
In the past, players like Richard Sherman and Todd Gurley have publicly spoken about how they’re preparing for it, as they expect it to happen. During the annual NFLPA’s press conference at the Super Bowl last January, much of the discussion focused on the lockout as the CBA will expire after the 2020 season.
An increase in the share of the league’s revenue, more guarantees in contracts, and taking marijuana off the list of things that can be tested for are some of the things that players want in the new deal.
“They have to know what they’re up against. They have to know what’s coming. And they have to understand, just like in a game, the tactics that are going to be used against them and how to fight against it,” said NFLPA President Eric Winston at last year’s press conference.
“Guys need to save their money. That doesn’t mean that they need to save their money during a lockout, they need to save their money all the time.”
Like Lynch said, take care of your chicken and take care of your mental.