That doesn't happen often. The man evaded microphones like he evaded defenders during a Hall of Fame-caliber career. He's not big into public speaking.
Graduating Princeton students should seize the opportunity to hear him out on their 2020 Class Day. Beast Mode is an unorthodox pick, but here are five reasons why he's also the right one:
1. He's not Princeton's typical Class Day speaker
Want to prepare a new generation of leaders for a diverse world? Pick a speaker representative of that world like Lynch. According to Yahoo Sports' Shalize Manza Young, nine of the last 10 Princeton Class Day speakers were white. Beast Mode can offer students a perspective that past speakers recently haven't.
2. So what if he doesn't have ties to the university?
An anonymous open letter published by Princeton's student newspaper expressed the importance of relevant school ties in choosing a Class Day speaker. But past speakers have included directors Baz Luhrmann and Christopher Nolan, actors Steve Carrell and Ellie Kemper, and Senator Cory Booker. All but one (Kemper) actually attended Princeton.
3. He's an accomplished entrepreneur
Marshawn Lynch founded his clothing line filling shirt orders himself, licking envelopes, and enlisting Seattle grocery stores to carry his products, according to Ad Age. He's grown that brand while helping other businesses in Oakland, his hometown. And he trademarked his "Beast Mode" nickname in a savvy move. Sounds like the type of businessman future industry leaders could learn from.
4. He never talks about his own philanthropy
We rarely hear about Lynch's Fam1st Foundation, which props up minority children in sports, music, art, and business. Lynch's partnership with Sprint lets Bay Area homeless people stay in touch with loved ones. He bought an Oakland soul food restaurant and purchased real estate to battle the negative effects of gentrification. Lynch lives to serve others without seizing the spotlight himself.
5. He knows something about perseverance
Lynch was once told he'd "either be dead or in jail by the age of 18," according to ESPN. He ended up a multimillionaire after attending Cal and dominating the NFL. Good luck finding a better metaphor for drive and determination than his signature runs.