Over the years, Marshawn Lynch has dished out some unforgettable advice to his NFL teammates. Most recently, the Seattle Seahawks running back, who came out of retirement, took the opportunity to impart some financial wisdom after his team lost to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs.
“I done been on the other side of retirement, and it’s good when you get over there and you can do what the f**k you want to,” he said. “Start taking care of y’all mentals, y’all bodies and y’all chicken. So, when you’re ready to walk away, you walk away, and you be able to do what you want to do.”
NFL players could clearly use Lynch’s advice. While Beast Mode’s contributions on the field are obvious, it’s his impact off the field that defines who he is as a person. It’s the reason why his philanthropic work with underprivileged youth earned him the Oakland Raiders candidate for Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2018.
Now, Beast Mode is taking what he’s learned over the years and sharing it with exiting students at a four-year university. And not just any university...we’re talking Princeton.
Lynch will speak at the school’s annual “Class Day,” a day organized by members of the senior class before their commencement ceremony.
"Mr. Lynch's sustained professional excellence is not the only reason we are excited to have him serve as our Class Day speaker,” the school said in an announcement. “His substantive work in communities stands alongside his on-field success…From his stops in the Bay Area, to Buffalo, to Seattle, Mr. Lynch has always prioritized community engagement and empowerment by leveraging his prominence as a professional athlete to promote opportunities for civic engagement and social justice."
But not everyone at Princeton is happy the veteran running back will be speaking to their class. In an op-ed in the school’s daily newspaper, the Daily Princetonian, the students said they were disappointed Lynch was selected as the class speaker. The writers cited frustrations in not being included in the selection process.
"As seniors, we had been looking forward to the speaker announcement for months," the letter starts. "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.
“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 students also pointed out Lynch’s unwillingness to cooperate with the media.
"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."
While Princeton students may be frustrated by their lack of involvement in the process, students could certainly learn from Lynch’s experiences, including the adversity he faced after the Seahawks loss in Super Bowl XLIX.
Lynch, who attended Cal as a student-athlete, is a five-time Pro Bowler and a Super Bowl champion. Moreover, he’s been even more successful off the field.
He formed the Fam 1st Family Foundation in 2006 to give back to the Seattle and Oakland community, has hosted 25 kids for a trip to London to watch a Raiders game, he’s helped increase voter participation through sponsored concerts, and even fulfilled a child’s “wish” through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.