When you’re paid to play the game, play the game

Jennie McNulty columnBY JENNIE MCNULTY

Well, Lesbian.com readers, did you enjoy the Lesbian High Holy Day this past Sunday? I’m referring, of course, to Super Bowl XLIX. It’s the biggest sporting event of the year and for football fans, if your team’s not playing, you just hope for a good game. Something to ease the sting of the next 6 months you’ll be without the NFL. This one was a great game. A couple of lead changes and a come from behind victory that came down to the wire and essentially ended with a controversial play call that many are saying was the dumbest call in Super Bowl history. It was very exciting. And one thing I really liked about it was that it was also an amazing example of Karma and how it can come up and take a great big chunk out of your gluteus maximus.

This year’s game was the most watched television show EVER. 114.5 million viewers watched the Patriots defeat the Seahawks. But, Super Bowl Sunday isn’t just about the game anymore. They’ve added a concert to the middle, contests for the commercials that run during it and an entire week of “preparation” before the game. The Tuesday before the big game is “media day,” a whole day set aside for players being interviewed and answering questions from literally thousands of media members. And, the questions/interviews go on all week.

I’m sure none of the players like doing it. And, one particular player, Marshawn Lynch, who has a history of not wanting to talk to the media, was threatened with a $500K fine if he didn’t make himself available to the media as is required. So, he did. He sat down on Tuesday and answered the same answer to every question: “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.” That was what he said, over and over, 29 times in all, regardless of the question asked, that was his response, “I’m just here so I won’t get fined.”
Some people thought it was funny. I did not. I thought it was a petulant display from a spoiled athlete. A six year old’s “you’re not the boss of me” response that, quite frankly, probably took more emotional energy than just answering the damn questions would have. He followed suit on Wednesday and Thursday with similar antics. Now, I don’t care at all that I didn’t learn the real answers to the questions asked of him. What bothered me was that it dominated the coverage all week. The last week we fans have to eat, sleep and live football details for 6 months and all we heard about was this little brat trying to “outsmart” the powers that be.

I’m very much, pro player. I think Roger Goodell (NFL Commissioner) should be fired for a lot of reasons. So, I’m not taking the league’s side on this issue — I’d like them to dump the whole extra week thing anyway. And, none of those guys want to spend the day answering obvious and repetitive questions but they all do it. It’s literally, part of their contracts and it’s a part of the giant event that the Super Bowl has become. There are only 106 men in the world each year that get that spotlight. If it’s too hot for you, go play in Canada. There’s much less hoopla there. Heck, even the name is kinda dull — “The Grey Cup.”

If you’re wondering why Marshawn Lynch gets away with acting like that it’s because he’s an excellent running back. By most fans, myself included, he’s considered one of the best. He tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns this year. He had 102 yards rushing in this game.

Cut to “the dumbest play ever called.” With about a minute to play; the ball one yard away from the end zone and 3 downs in which to score, it seemed to everyone that Lynch would end this game with 103 yards and a Super Bowl Ring. But, here’s where Karma stepped in and DID say something. On second down, instead of handing the ball to Mr. Anti-Microphone, they threw a pass. According to their coach, they threw a pass on second down, based on the personnel on the field and with the thought that, should it not work, they’d have downs 3 and 4 for Marshawn to kick into “Beast Mode” and score bringing them their second consecutive Lombardi Trophy. But that pass got intercepted. Patriot rookie Malcom Butler, stepped up and made his first career interception. So, Marshawn didn’t get 3rd and 4th down to try. And, he probably would have scored but, we’ll never know. We will never get that question answered. “Beast Mode” had no say in this outcome.

Delightfully ironic, isn’t it? Unless you’re a Seahawk fan, I guess. Then, probably not so delightful.

Jennie McNulty was named one of Curve magazine’s Top 10 lesbian comedians. She can be heard weekly as co-host of LA Talk Radio‘s “Cathy Is In: The Cathy DeBuono Show.”

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