Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Temple, TX
Section: Sec 118 Row H
Johnny Manziel seems either determined or destined to be the first at everything — first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy last December, first Heisman winner to take the witness stand (disguised as an SEC media days interview session) on Wednesday.
To some degree, it’s fair that Manziel pays a high price for his tiny transgressions — the latest being his failure to perform all of his duties at the Mannings’ quarterback camp in Louisiana, where he used “dehydration” as an excuse.
(Yeah, I used to find myself “dehydrated” a lot in the mornings. Then four years ago when I stopped doing so much late-night “hydrating,” the problem went away).
Manziel doesn’t exactly hide from attention the way so many high-profile athletes do these days. He takes it head on, showing up courtside for NBA playoff games, tweeting pictures of his WinStar casino winnings and mostly thumbing his nose at those who resent his celebrity or demand a choirboy attitude of their quarterbacks.
But other than one tweet about how much he wanted to get out of College Station (ill-advised to say the least) and his shirking of duties at a kids’ camp last week (classless but hardly a first), I haven’t had any problems with his behavior during this long off-season.
And let me say this about Johnny Football.
He’s going to show up for ESPN on Wednesday morning, and then he’s going to address a huge gathering of SEC media types, and he’s going to take all the questions thrown his way. By the end, he will have them eating out of his hand.
However, I’m going to guess — and I could be wrong, but we’ll find out — that his teammate, cornerback Deshazor Everett, who made the big interception at the end of the Alabama upset, won’t be there to discuss his off-season arrest for misdemeanor assault.
I’m going to take a wild guess and say that the four Alabama players arrested in February for beating up students and stealing their credit cards won’t be there, either. In all likelihood, Kentucky safety Ashely Lowery won’t be on hand to discuss the 0.139 blood alcohol level he registered when he totaled his car and was ejected 100 feet at 4 in the morning two months ago, leaving himself in critical condition before recovering.
I’ll go out on a limb and predict that Texas coach Mack Brown won’t bring wide receivers Cayleb Jones and Kendall Sanders to the Big 12 media days here in Dallas next week. Sanders got a DUI this spring and Jones fractured the jaw of a UT tennis player over a girl. Both were suspended for a while until Brown decided that missing the opener (that big game with New Mexico State) would be penalty enough.
You want a good laugh?
Listen to Ohio State coach Urban Meyer talk about building character in young men, and then go check the Orlando Sentinel’s database on the 30 Gator football players arrested during Meyer’s six years in Gainesville.
And you still want to tell me what an irresponsible train wreck Johnny Manziel has become for this game?
His well-documented arrest for a fight came a year ago before almost any of us knew who he was. His mistakes since then fall into a different classification from the stuff that’s going on around him in the soiled world of college football.
For his own good — not ours — Manziel should take a breath and step away from the spotlight beyond the one that shines at Kyle Field. He’s almost certain to turn professional after the 2013 season, and given that he already has pro scouts wondering about his deep ball and arm strength, there’s no need to let these minor off-the-field transgressions turn into a second red flag.
I heard ESPN’s Paul Finebaum saying that as a Heisman winner, Manziel has to behave differently. The Heisman’s not the Miss America pageant. This isn’t something he aspired to for years, going from one pageant to the next to win votes on poise and appearance.
It’s an award some of us chose to hand him after watching him make the Aggies the surprise of the SEC.
Manziel’s responsibility is to Texas A&M as his team’s quarterback. If he needs to clean up his act a bit, it’s in deference to the Aggies and to those who look up to him as a result of his unexpected success at A&M last fall.
He has handled media pressure as deftly as he scrambles away from pressure in the pocket, so I will be surprised if his appearances are regarded as anything but an unqualified success Wednesday at the SEC’s media days.
And keep in mind that the criminals with more dangerous and unresolved issues won’t even be showing up