Students at Princeton University say an opinion piece expressing their disappointment over Marshawn Lynch as their class speaker has been "misconstrued," reports The Washington Post

In the piece which was published on February 27, students shared their frustrations about Lynch as the senior Class Day speaker. The students cited their lack of involvement in the selection process of the speaker as the reason behind their discontentment.

"As seniors, we had been looking forward to the speaker announcement for months. 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," the students wrote. 

“It goes without saying that Lynch has had an incredibly impressive career as an NFL football player and as a social activist," the students continued. “He has given back to his home community of Oakland through many philanthropic activities and has organized football clinics around the world."

Since the publishing of the article, the authors say they have received "a lot of backlash." The names of the students responsible for the article have been removed "due to credible safety concerns." The students told The Post they have been the victims of online attacks and bullying. 

In the article, students questioned Class Day co-chair Jaylin Lugardo’s statement that Lynch has “unapologetically embodied and advocated for our own identities and values." Although they acknowledged the work Lynch has done in his community as a social activist, students said it was "paradoxical" and "questionable" that they shared similar values with the athlete when they were never consulted. 

"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 stated.

The students did, however, take issue with Lynch's often disinterest in speaking with the media following NFL games.

“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,” the op-ed detailed. 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.’”

Despite this group of Princeton students who are against Lynch’s nomination, the former Super Bowl champion has support amongst other members of the Ivy League school’s community. Julia Chaffers, a student and contributor to the school’s newspaper, wrote an op-ed in response to her classmates questioning Lynch as a great selection.

“A recent op-ed by guest contributors in The Daily Princetonian objecting to the selection of Marshawn Lynch as this year’s Class Day speaker has garnered widespread attention across campus and in the national media. Aside from being misconstrued as being representative of the campus community, the dismissive attitude towards Lynch within the article falls in line with a long history of disrespect towards black athletes,” Chaffers wrote.

She goes on to say that this line of thinking has blackballed Colin Kaepernick from the NFL and is why TV host Laura Ingraham said LeBron James should “shut up and dribble” instead of engaging in social and political issues. 

Chaffers warned that limiting athletes to only having value in their playing fields marginalizes the true impact of some of America’s most-followed and celebrated people. She said that it’s especially true with Black athletes who are renowned for feats of speed and strength but rarely for their mental acuity.

When it comes to money, Lynch could probably teach a master class in microeconomics and investments. Business Insider reported in 2016 that the nine-year pro made almost $50 million in his career, saving almost all of it and living off endorsements. When he made a return to the field for the injury-laden Seattle Seahawks this year, he left this message for young players to protect their assets following the team’s playoff loss, as Blavity previously reported

“So, while y’all at it right now, take care y’all bodies, take care y’all chicken, ya feel me, take care y’all mentals, cuz little we ain’t lasting that long,” Lynch said. “So start taking care of y’all mentals, y’all bodies and y’all chicken. And when y’all ready to walk away, you walk away and be able to do what you want to do.” 

Lynch has since elaborated on his money situation and said that he doesn’t save all of his money, he pinches at it a bit.