Johnny be good
"If they can keep [him] out of jail or keep him eligible, he's gonna be pretty good."
The above quote from Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops made my jaw drop. This "joke" referred to 20-year-old Heisman Trophy winner and Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, also known as "Johnny Football."
Manziel is becoming a household name for his on-field performances and off-the-field antics. On the field, his 2012 consisted of 5,116 yards and 47 total touchdowns. Off the field, pictures of a scandalous Halloween adventure and nightclubs have gone viral.
Why is this an issue?
Manziel was arrested in June 2012 for disorderly conduct and possession of a fake ID. A picture emerged on Instagram of him holding more cash than I have to my name. Pictures of him partying at bars and in rather questionable situations have shown up a number of times as well.
How many of us have pictures from a bar that we would rather not have seen? How many of us have fake IDs? Manziel is not alone in this department.
Why should Manziel have to hold himself to a "higher standard" because he plays college football? Let's not forget he is a 20-year-old college student.
Manziel emerged on the national spotlight following his 29-24 victory at Alabama, in which he threw for 253 yards and ran for 92 more. A few days after, pictures of him dressed as Scooby Doo while surrounded by beautiful women on Halloween became a common conversation topic and Google search. Mostly thanks to his entourage of "Scooby snacks."
Just because he happens to be one the best college players doesn't mean he shouldn't have to change who he is. Johnny Football is just like any other college student.
He is working hard and preparing himself for the future. Some are working toward medical school, teaching positions and computer programs. Others like Manziel are training for a career in professional football. But if you have a 4.0, should it matter what you tweet or what's on your Instagram?
Now Texas A&M Athletic Director Eric Hyman is putting his two cents in on the situation. Following the Heisman ceremony, Hyman met with Manziel and his parents about his off-the-field acts.
"I told them he's no longer a freshman, and he's no longer a sophomore, junior or senior," Hyman said. "He is a 'Heisman.'"
The athletic director has seemed to overlook the term "student-athlete." When filling out paperwork around campus, is he supposed to check "Heisman" under education?
Let the kid live his life the way he wishes. Being a college quarterback in Texas is not a job. And his performance has certainly not suffered as a result.
Jealousy does factor into the equation. Manziel is living every 20-year-old's dream. He is a good-looking guy who is dominating college football and has a smoking hot girlfriend. And he is going out and partying like a champion as well. I would do unspeakable things just to have his life for one week.
Many love to emphasize the "student-athlete" term when talking about attending class. Well, let's allow these student-athletes live a normal student life out of the classroom as well.
This includes partying, dumb tweets and making mistakes.
Maybe Stoops is upset Manziel tore up his defense on national television in the Cotton Bowl and was able to celebrate on social media afterward. As for Hyman, he got what he wanted for his program in the end: a 41-13 blowout Cotton Bowl victory thanks Johnny Football's record 516 yards total yards and four touchdowns.
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