Marshawn Lynch is set to speak at Princeton University as the univeristy’s selection for Class Day, a pre-graduation ceremony, but some of the seniors are strongly opposed to it.
Class Day will take place June 1, the day before the school’s commencement ceremony, and will give “seniors an opportunity to acknowledge [public] achievements and contributions of members of the class and University community,” according to Princeton’s website.
A group of senior class members wrote a school newspaper op-ed, published Feb. 27, expressing that they didn’t like the choice of Lynch without their consent. They also wanted more transparency in the selection process.
Plus, they had another issue: They didn’t like that Lynch chose not to open up to the media during his NFL career at times. They brought up Super Bowl media day for 2015.
“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,” read the op-ed.
“In 2013 and 2014, for example, Lynch was fined $50,000 and $100,000 for refusing to speak to the media,” the students wrote in the op-ed. “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 senior class also wrote about their problems with the overall selection process for Class Day.
“In addition to transparency issues regarding the nomination criteria, this decision reflects foundational issues in the selection process,” the article read.
“We feel that the selection committee did not represent a broad-enough range of perspectives and did not try to compensate for this by notifying the senior class of intermediate steps in the selection process,” it continued. “The selection committee should have solicited our feedback on the final shortlisting of the potential candidates.”
There was a message written on Instagram next to a photo of Lynch that was posted on Wednesday, Feb. 26.
“We wanted a Class Day speaker who unapologetically embodied and advocated for our own identities and values,” the caption read.
In the comments of that post, some said the students’ letter was filled with racist undertones, and they got blasted for it.
“Your statement sounds pathetic and racist Princeton,” one message read.
“Any Princeton student that is protesting this man speaking at their school, clearly has some underlying racism or prejudices inside of them,” wrote someone else. “They don’t deserve to graduate from such a prestigious university.”
”Wow! Princeton is apparently run by morons,” a third person stated.
There were also some who said they’d love for Lynch to speak at their school.
“An absolutely incredible choice!” someone wrote. “He is extremely intelligent and has a wealth of experiences that will make him an interesting speaker, wish my harvard grad class had someone like him speak.”
Lynch began his NFL career in 2007 and, after taking 14 months off, he played for the Seattle Seahawks last season.