The Seattle Seahawks may not be Super Bowl champs this year, but Marshawn Lynch is still a champ on the field and in his hometown of Oakland, California. Lynch has splattered the news lately, but there is more to the man behind the helmet.
This is what we’re talking about (the good stuff starts at 0:49):
And yeah, the media missed that.
Growing up in Oakland made Marshawn tough and resilient because he had to be. Marshawn’s mother worked two jobs to put food on the table and tried to make sure he and his three siblings were off the streets. Later, football became his calling and by Marshawn’s senior year at Oakland Technical High, he was a football legend and earned the nickname he would carry for life, “Beast Mode.” By the time he reached the NFL, he had seen successes on the field but faced criticism for his brushes with the law and for perpetuating a certain image not suitable for the NFL. When asked about being called a ‘thug’ in an E:60 interview, he responds in the best way possible:
“I would like to see them grow up in project housing. Being racially profiled growing up, sometimes not even having nothing to eat, sometimes having to wear the same damn clothes to school for a whole week. Then all of a sudden a big-ass change in their life, like their dream come true, to the point they’re starting their career, at 20 years old, when they still don’t know shit. I would like to see some of the mistakes they would make.” (Watch more here).
Marshawn reminds us of the racial reality we live in today — that even when black men have achieved professional success, they are not immune to the racial injustice that young, black men face everyday. Marshawn Lynch is not a thug, in fact, his actions would actually suggest the opposite.
In 2006, Marshawn and his cousin, San Francisco 49ers player Josh Johnson co-founded Fam 1st Family Foundation, a comprehensive program that works to improve the lives of inner-city Oakland children through mentorship and development workshops. Here is where Marshawn maybe understands something the media doesn’t. He understands it’s more worth his time to do something rather than answer NFL fluff questions. So when he actually does say something, it’s about something he finds meaningful and valuable. By leading the foundation, he says he’s fulfilling his civic duty to the city that helped build his strong character.
Marshawn advocates for our young men and women of color to rise above labels or stereotypes and poverty put before them by society. As we all know, actions speak louder than words, and Marshawn is taking plenty of actions to support our youth of Oakland. He sure seems to be saying a lot by saying nothing. Now if only the media would cover that story.