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This is no longer fun and games for 'Johnny Football'

August 05, 2013|By Chris Dufresne
  • Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel talks with reporters July 17.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel talks with reporters July 17. (Dave Martin / Associated…)

Let’s end the argument over whether Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has the right to act like any other college student who also happens to have won the Heisman Trophy as a freshman.

Of course he does.

Johnny got in a bar fight and was caught with a fake ID (welcome to a large club).

Johnny sent a tweet saying he couldn’t wait to get out of College Station (have you ever been there?).

He jetted around the country with daddy’s money to crash parties from Denver to Dover (like he’s the
only spoiled brat son from a Texas oil-money family).

Johnny also got tossed from a frat party at Texas while wearing a Tim Tebow jersey and might have had a
hangover when he missed his wake-up call for the Manning Passing Academy.

He’s just a kid, under enormous pressure, trying to blow off some steam.

The problem is not Manziel’s right to act like a kid or a fool. It’s the fuller portrait forming now of a young man seemingly lacking even a base level of accountability or responsibility.

Manziel is not a golfer or tennis player—he’s the most important player on his squad.

There's no "i" in T-E-A-M but there is one in "Manziel."

It is hard to believe Manziel would be so brazen and cavalier as to accept money for signing autographs.

“My teammates know where my heart’s at, where my head’s at,” Manziel said at SEC media day in July.

His teammates now have the right to wonder: “Really?”

It also doesn’t matter what you think of silly NCAA rules. The point is not whether players should be paid for signing autographs.

That’s a matter to be settled in court.

If the rule says you can’t accept money for signing your own autograph, well, that’s the rule and you can’t do it.

An ESPN report suggesting Manziel demanded cash for his signature is by far the most serious allegation
because it jeopardizes his eligibility.

These are just allegations to date, from anonymous sources speaking with ESPN, so we’ll see how it plays

Proving Manziel got paid might be difficult and there certainly is no financial motive. He comes from a well-off family in Texas. Manziel’s father, Paul, has already bought Johnny a Mercedes-Benz.

The question is why Manziel might be so dumb--could he really be so inconsiderate and/or clueless?

If the autograph story doesn’t stick, people will say it’s just another day in Johnny Football’s life.

This is no longer, however, just about the woes of poor, misunderstood Johnny.

This is about the Texas A&M teammates who have to cover for him every time he dodges a press conference. Manziel was originally on the player list for Monday’s media day at Texas A&M before the Sunday story broke.

His name was taken off the list.

Manziel has gone from causing a stir to being a distraction. His actions are starting to bleed into the regular season.

Texas A&M Coach Kevin Sumlin said Monday he was unaware of the latest allegations until Sunday evening. Training camp has been thrown into tumult. The school has to decide whether to hold Manziel out of games pending the NCAA outcome.

Until then?

"We're gonna practice and go ahead as normal and be able to adjust to the facts," Sumlin said.

There is no such thing as "normal" anymore in College Station.  

Manziel isn't required to be a role model for the general public or any of us, but he will have to answer to the players and the season he is hanging out to dry in the Texas heat.

As a third-year sophomore, Manziel can opt out for the pros after this season.

He certainly isn’t exhibiting the kind of leadership the NFL looks for in a quarterback. He is acting a lot more like Ryan Leaf than Andrew Luck.

It’s a free country, so “Johnny Train Wreck” or “Johnny Hancock” can party all night, or season, long.

If he doesn’t grow up, though, his next best football option might be in Canada.


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