Yesterday ESPN The Magazine — with all its sister Bristol-based tentacles (radio, TV, telegraph, two cans and a string) — brought you a hyper-inside look at Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and his family. The story told of a growing rift between the family and the school. It put the spotlight on the young man’s drinking — he’s 20 — and his temper, as well as his stated desire to just find some normalcy in his life.
Today, SI.com has posted its own feature on Johnny Football. He’s even on a regional cover of the magazine itself. Of course, if you want to read it, you’ll have buy “a digital version of the issue.”
But while reading yet another piece on Manziel, we at MrSEC.com thought we’d provide him with a few tips that might make his life a bit easier in the months to come. If ESPN’s piece yesterday showed us anything, it’s that the kid appears to be all on his own. No one, it seems, has ever told Manziel “no.” Growing up with money and with parents who won’t even wring his neck for flinging clubs across a golf course, A&M’s star quarterback seems to have reached the conclusion that anything goes. Without consequences.
Sadly, for all the incredible work Kevin Sumlin has done in College Station, he too seems to have failed Manziel. The coach could have banned him from Twitter long ago. He did not. And Twitter has helped build the crazed following Manziel is now trying to escape. Twitter has been a self-admitted distraction for the QB. And Twitter has led to trouble in the form of angry messages about College Station and photos of celebrity living that have become a headache for A&M’s compliance department.
So with the 20-year-old getting no direction from anyone else in his life, we thought we’d try to provide a little guidance our own selves. Before doing so, we must acknowledge that Manziel has to want to help himself. We are dubious of his desire to do so. Does the quarterback really want to get back to a normal life or does he want all the perks that go with being a hip Heisman-winner — celebrity friends, trips all over the country, etc — minus the negatives? I think most 20-year-olds who’ve never been taught about actions and consequences and who don’t understand the so-called “price of fame” would prefer to take the buffet approach to celebrity. “I’ll keep this trip to a Drake concert in Canada, but I’ll leave the people asking for autographs. I’ll keep the great seats at the NBA finals, but I’ll leave the questions about how I got the tickets.”
Adults know that life doesn’t work that way. Manziel isn’t a mature adult yet. And the mature adults in his life aren’t helping matters.
So here’s our attempt to lend a helping hand to a college student who’s trying to navigate super-stardom all by his lonesome:
1. Johnny, take the next nine months and become a hermit. Drop off the grid. If you want to lose the paparazzi-like aspects of fame, you’re going to have to surrender some of that fame. That means no jet-setting until after the NFL draft.
Need to unwind? Have some buddies or teammates over to your place. Don’t get sucked into an all-night frat party. Don’t get your photo snapped at every bar in town. In general, just “don’t.”
By going the monk route for nine months you’ll be showing NFL scouts that you’re serious about football and that you have control of your own life. Fair or not, each week it seems more and more apparent that you’re spinning out of control. It happens. There’s a reason so many child stars find young adulthood to be difficult.
So buckle down, focus on A&M’s 2013 season, and prove to NFL owners that you won’t be a risky pick next April. Just nine months, Johnny. Heck, consider yourself pregnant with the goal of delivering a heavy, healthy pro contract.
2. Take advantage of your new low-profile lifestyle and use some of your newfound free time to get back on your therapist’s schedule. There’s nothing wrong with talking to a professional about your life, your stresses, your frustrations. It’s a good thing to try and find avenues other than alcohol to relieve stress.
If you don’t like the therapist you were seeing before, find another. For a guy who’s living in a fishbowl, it would be good for you to have one person in your life who can be trusted to keep his mouth shut about time spent with Johnny Football.
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