The 2013 college football offseason has had many an over exposed story and none of them are even related to on-field play. The most recent of these unnecessarily dramatic stories is the off-field antics of 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.
Let me just start by saying one thing: I am not excusing Manziel from blowing off the Manning Passing camp, nor would I ever. This camp was something he had committed to doing and therefore he blew off a legitimate obligation by no-showing.
This is the only part of this media storm that is truly negative.
There are so many people taking it almost as a personal attack that a 20-year-old college football player is going out and having fun. That he is going on vacations, in the offseason mind you, to Mexico and partying it up. That he is somehow a “bad role model” for having fun.
Yes, I understand that the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Texas A&M is held to a different standard than your everyday 20-year-old college student. I understand that Johnny Manziel will be looked at as a role model by many a young Texas football fan. I understand that you were all given a perfect example of what a college “student-athlete” should be with Tim Tebow.
When Tim Tebow became ESPN’s focus of good from his senior year of high school on, we were all given the perfect role model to show our children or future children.
Don’t get me wrong here, I am giving respect to Tebow, I am not a fan of him on the field, but there is no doubt that he is a perfect role model for young kids as far as his off the field life.
The problem I have with this is simple. Not every Heisman Trophy winner can be Tim Tebow, and we shouldn’t hold them to such a high standard.
Johnny Manziel is a kid, there are no ifs, ands or buts about it. He is a 20-year-old kid with money. He is no different as a human being than your average 20-year-old, he just has a higher amount of responsibilities, and outside the Manning Camp debacle, what responsibility has he not fulfilled?
Again, I understand that Tebow was 20 and more responsible, and that A.J. McCarron is 22 and has 2 National Championships and says he’s “not your typical 22-year-old,” but remember, not everybody is the same.
We want individuality in life and in our super-star athletes, yet we still want to keep their ideals and lives in a perfect little box. Only we can make bad choices, only we can be kids when we’re young, but when somebody becomes more successful than we are at a young age, we can’t handle it.
Did Manziel win the Heisman Trophy last season?
Did Manziel take Texas A&M to a 11-2 record, not only beating #1 Alabama, but routing #11 Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl?
Has Manziel been kicked out of school for poor grades, or breaking rules, or failing drug tests?
Then what’s the problem!?
Former Heisman winners like Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart were made out to be heroes in the media for their “playboy lifestyle” in L.A. while playing for USC.
Cam Newton’s on-field performance quelled all of his past off the field indiscretions outside the alleged pay-for-play with Auburn which he was found to not be a part of after an NCAA investigation, and was given the Heisman after being booted from the University of Florida for stealing a laptop and tossing it out of the window of his dorm room when the police came just a couple of years before.
The point is, we are interested in these kids for one thing…football. You don’t see exclusives on how successful some players who don’t go on to play in the NFL become, do you?
If Manziel shows up this fall in College Station and puts up big numbers while leading the Aggies to another double-digit win season in the SEC, then all of the people attacking him now will just forget any of this happened.