Thursday, August 28, 2014

Manziel’s fall

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  • Published: August 28th, 2013

Who exactly is Johnny Manziel? Is he the next Robert Griffin III, Ryan Leaf, or can he even be plain old “Johnny Football” again?
As the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy, Manziel should have been making headlines about the possibility of leading his Texas A&M team to a national title and perhaps becoming only the second player to ever win the Heisman Trophy twice.

However, Manziel’s off-the-field antics have put into question not only his character, but also his future on the football field.

Manziel is one of the most electrifying players college football has ever seen. As a freshman, the Texas A&M quarterback set the SEC record for most total yards in a year, eclipsing former stars such as Cam Newton and Tim Tebow.

Unfortunately, the 20-year-old Manziel has seemingly let the fame and media attention create a downward spiral in his personal life, which could create harsh consequences on the field as well.

The most recent scandal Manziel has found himself in is the alleged acceptance of money for autographing footballs and pictures.
According to controversial NCAA rules, a student-athlete cannot accept any form of gift or
payment.

The NCAA’s website used to sell replica jerseys of players such as Manziel and made millions of dollars off the student athlete’s names, but student athletes are not allowed to make a penny off of their
own names.

So it is ironic that of all Manziel’s wrongdoings, such as being kicked out of parties at his rival school, tweeting profanity-laced tirades about how he cannot wait to leave College Station, spending a night in jail, or skipping out on the Manning Passing Academy, he might be in trouble for signing a few autographs.

Even though most disagree with the NCAA rule Manziel supposedly broke, Manziel should follow the rules, and being suspended for this reason might just be fitting.

Even Manziel’s parents have made public their concern for
their son.

“It could come unraveled,” Paul Manziel told ESPN the Magazine. “And when it does, it’s gonna be bad. Real bad. It’s one night away from the phone ringing and he’s in jail. And you know what he’s gonna say? ‘It’s better than all the pressure I’ve been under. This is better
than that.’”

Manziel is at a crossroads in his career, and being only 20 years old, he still has an amazing opportunity to turn his life around and be a star at the college and professional levels.

Some have questioned how Manziel’s skillset and height would translate to the NFL, but quarterbacks such as Drew Brees and Russell Wilson have thrived despite being undersized.

Manziel has demonstrated on the field that he has all the physical tools to succeed at the next level. Not only does Manziel have a strong and accurate arm, but he also has the ability to change the game with his feet.

The question Manziel must answer not only for his fans and the media, but also for himself and his family, is whether the fame is worth the stress it brings.

Maybe being ruled ineligible by the NCAA is the best way for Manziel to take a step back from the spotlight and concentrate on straightening out his life off the field so he can return to the field as the “Johnny Football” who captivated the sports world last season.

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