Marshawn Lynch appeared as a guest on HBO’s Real Time With Bill Maher to talk about his entrepreneurship work in theory, but ended up discussing a whole other wide range of topics instead. He answered questions about topics like Colin Kaepernick not getting signed and smoking weed, and he also gave a compelling response to what Donald Trump tweeted about him.
That motherfucker say a lot of shit. But, at the end of the day, you call me unpatriotic but, I mean, you come to my neighborhood where I’m from and you’ll see me take the shirt off my back and give to someone in less need. I mean, what would you call that?
Lynch is referring to the community work he has done over his career with various communities around the United States, with a particular focus on his hometown of Oakland. Later on in the interview, he says that his work extends to combatting gentrification in his neighborhood by buying up real estate in the area with his earnings in an effort to provide housing for those who need it.
But, given that Real Time is a comedy show that focuses on politics, the conversation soon turned to the hellworld we currently live in. In the “Overtime” segment that’s posted on YouTube, Maher asked Lynch who he voted for around the 6:30 mark. The running back replied that he didn’t vote, and all the goodwill he had built up by confirming he lit a blunt off of Al Davis’s eternal flame seemed to vanish.
Lynch tried to explain to the panel that he was more interested in hands-on community service from his end, that the services that people supposedly vote for don’t reach the communities he visits and that most politicians he’s met with are looking for a paycheck in return for his help. But, both Maher and former Rep. Barney Frank went straight to the pearl-clutching with the news instead. Maher, after telling Lynch that not voting was “not right,” attempted to use former Republican governor of Ohio John Kasich expanding medicaid in his state as an example of the good that can come from voting. Frank went for anecdotal evidence of good legislators in California, and Oakland, that Lynch should have voted for.
Given the context of Lynch’s arguments of not voting, the whole thing was pretty patronizing. The most telling example of the running back’s argument falling on deaf ears came at the end segment with the following exchange:
Frank: “Don’t you want to encourage the good [politicians]? Some are bad, but you’ve had, again, in Oakland some outstanding people who are community rooted. Don’t you want to encourage them?”
Lynch: “You saying some of them are good and some of them are bad, but the same conditions in which Oakland was in back then, they still in the same situations now.”
Frank: “But they’re trying to make it better and if there were more of them they could succeed.”
Lynch: “Well where they at then?”
Maher then goes on to talk about all the improvement that California has gone through over the years from the period of Gov. Jerry Brown onwards. But, just like with Frank, the statement shows that he’s not listening to Lynch either. Lynch is putting himself in the role of a community leader because he sees firsthand what people in his community are going through and what they are lacking. He even admits himself that his work isn’t necessarily sustainable but he sees it as better than nothing. Rather than explore the reasoning behind what he does, Frank and Maher offer solutions from the perspective of people who don’t know what it’s like to grow up where Lynch did. Luckily, Lynch is an NFL veteran, so it’s not like he hasn’t dealt with this dynamic before.
h/t Well Placed Rocket