“Saying that Lynch has ‘unapologetically embodied and advocated for our own identities and values’ (as stated in the University’s official Instagram post) without actually consulting us, the Princeton community, is paradoxical and thus questionable,” an op-ed in the Daily Princetonian said about the Seattle Seahawks running back. “We do not mean to criticize this choice of speaker in particular, but rather want to call attention to the opaque selection process for Class Day speakers.”
The letter, titled “Reforming the Class Day speaker selection process: Open letter to the Class Day Co-Chairs,” said the students took issue with the five-time Pro Bowler’s treatment of media, for instance, including his notorious, “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” comment in 2015.
The letter said: “On receiving the email about the speaker announcement, members of the senior class who were not aware of Lynch tried to learn more about his identity and relevance to our Class Day ceremony.
“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 Superbowl 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 students are hoping that the say of the graduating class for the pre-graduation event in June, will be counted in the future.
“We believe that reforming the nomination and selection process by clarifying the procedure and by involving the senior class will definitely anticipate such concerns, giving students a better understanding and moreover a sense of ownership over the decision to invite a specific speaker.”
Lynch, whose nickname is “Beast Mode,” has been known for his jock philosophy.
“Take care y’all bodies, take care y’all chicken [money] and take care y’all mentals,” Lynch said.
Lynch was out of football for 14 months before he rejoined the Seahawks when they suffered a running back injury crisis. He helped the Seahawks to the NFL divisional playoffs, where they ultimately lost to the Green Bay Packers 28-23. Lynch scored two touchdowns in the losing effort.
Lynch last appeared in a game for the Oakland Raiders on Oct. 14, 2018. Ironically, he was playing against the Seahawks. He ran for 45 yards on 13 carries and failed to score a touchdown. He stepped away from football after that but never officially signed his retirement paperwork.
Lynch played more than five seasons with the Seahawks from the middle of 2010 to 2015, helping the team to a Super Bowl in 2013. He burst onto the scene with an incredible run in an NFC playoff game against the New Orleans Saints in 2010.