Princeton students unhappy how Marshawn Lynch was picked as school’s speaker

In a controversial process, ex-Raiders and Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch is set to speak at Princeton's 'Class Day' ceremonies in June

Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch runs through warmups at the NFL football team’s practice facility Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019, in Renton, Wash. When Lynch played his last game for the Seahawks in 2016, the idea of him ever wearing a Seahawks uniform again seemed preposterous. Yet, here were the Seahawks getting ready to have Lynch potentially play a major role against San Francisco with the NFC West title on the line. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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Some Princeton students aren’t happy about how former Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch wound up being selected last week as the school’s “Class Day” speaker in June.

To be clear, this group of seniors aren’t saying they’re not interested in hearing how to “take care of their chicken” or figure out ways to get through life without getting fined.

The students, though, don’t trust the process by which Lynch was chosen to address students the day before commencement ceremonies in June. They’ve since voiced their displeasure in the form of an op-ed published in the student newspaper.

“Many of us were disappointed when we saw that this year’s speaker was to be Marshawn Lynch, mainly because we did not feel included in the process by which this speaker was nominated and finally selected,” their letter read, in part.

The group also took exception to how Lynch has mostly avoided speaking to the media during his career.

“Among articles that praised his NFL career and philanthropic contributions, we came across articles discussing Lynch’s reticence with the media and his terse responses at press conferences. In 2013 and 2014, for example, Lynch was fined $50,000 and $100,000 for refusing to speak to the media. During the 2015 Super Bowl Media Day, Lynch famously responded to multiple questions with variants of ‘I’m just here so I won’t get fined.’ With no other frame of reference, such reports caused confusion over the set of criteria that led to his nomination,” the letter said.

While it pleases us to see a younger generation come to the defense of journalists, we’d also point out that in the spirit of objectivity they needed to pick a Cal guy. After all, Princeton’s Class Day speaker two years ago was New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, a former Stanford football player.

Plus, anyone who follows Lynch’s off-field moves as much as what he’s done throughout his stellar 12-year NFL career realizes the former Oakland Tech and Cal star has done wonders for the East Bay and many of its children and less fortunate citizens.

Princeton’s Class Day committee, which is responsible for choosing an honorary class member to speak, recognized Lynch’s contributions while making him their pick.

“We wanted a Class Day speaker who unapologetically embodied and advocated for our own identities and values,” the committee wrote in an Instagram post on the school’s account.

Senior co-chair Jaylin Lugardo defended the choice of Lynch, who came out of retirement this past season to play three games with the Seahawks.

“Being a first-generation, low-income student was the source of my greatest challenges and successes at Princeton, and it’s an identity I can’t imagine disappears after graduating,” Lugardo said in the announcement. “So I’m grateful to have Marshawn Lynch, having completed his journey as a first-gen student-athlete at (Cal), speaking at Class Day.”

Our advice to those students who still take issue with Lynch’s appointment as guest speaker would be to just show up to the event in June holding signs saying, “I’m just here so I don’t get flunked.”

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