Over the weekend, the website Yardbarker.com reported on its “Rumors & Rants” page that Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel had “reportedly enjoyed himself a little too much Friday night and rolled back into the (Manning Passing Academy) at Nicholls State some time around noon Saturday before getting the boot.” The report went on to state that Manziel was asked to leave the camp by Archie Manning.
Hours later, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the Mannings themselves and Manziel’s family all kiboshed the Yardbarker story. Manziel had reportedly left the event due to dehydration, not because he partied too hard, was too hungover, or showed up late for some of Saturday’s scheduled events.
At that point, Aggie Nation rallied ’round their boy. Again. The big bad media was picking on their sweet little Johnny Football, a young man they view as being no different than any other college athlete (aside from the fact that media meanies trail him constantly, of course).
Fair enough. Many of us in the media do go too far and a few of us are honest-to-goodness jerks.
But if Manziel were only guilty of being under the weather, why has he apologized to the Aggies’ coaching staff? ESPN’s Joe Schad reported yesterday afternoon that Manziel not only apologized to his coaches but he is also “being advised to be honest about what led to his much-discussed departure” from the Manning Academy.
According to Schad’s source, Manziel was “very upset” about having to leave the camp and “privately conceded that he needs to continue to mature.”
Would maturation help with dehydration? Who knew?
The bottom line on all things Manziel is this: He is redshirt sophomore who grew up in a wealthy family. Since bursting onto the national sporting stage last fall he’s been handed some of the A-1 coolest opportunities on the planet. Add it up and it’s enough to go to a young man’s head.
And we at MrSEC.com think it has.
Many A&M fans will bristle at that suggestion and head coach Kevin Sumlin will say he’s not worried about any such thing when he meets the press tomorrow in Birmingham. But we don’t see how it’s possible for anyone decked out in maroon and white not to be worried about their QB’s focus. Not to mention just what the heck kind of news he might make next?
Since the end of last football season, Manziel has made news for his courtside NBA seats. He made news when he admitted to being tired of fielding questions from A&M’s compliance department. He made news when a photo of him wearing a fake Texas Longhorn tattoo went viral. He made news when he reportedly shoved an Aggie manager during a spring scrimmage. He made news when he decided to stop using social media. He made news when he soon thereafter returned to using social media. He made news when he tweeted that he “can’t wait to leave” College Station. He made news when he left the Manning Passing Academy early. And then he made news again just yesterday when he pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of providing a fake ID to a police officer following a fight in 2012.
Manziel is a one-man 24-hour news cycle.
And before anyone blames the press for all of this, remember that this is a kid who has repeatedly used social media to provide photos of himself hanging with celebs and taking part in non-football-related activities. There’s nothing illegal about that, of course. But it’s pretty hard to yell “Leave me alone!” when you’re walking around town in a “Look at me!” sandwich-board.
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