Archived Story

Manziel can’t have success without scrutiny

Published 9:40am Friday, August 2, 2013

A couple of days ago, while perusing through ESPN.com, I came across an in-depth piece about Texas A&M’s electric quarterback.
In particular, it showed how the weight and aura of Johnny  Football the player tore at Johnny Manziel the person.
First thing,s first – if you haven’t read it, I suggest you take a peek.
It offers some fascinating insight into the world and psyche of Manziel as he’s exploded onto the scene as a top-tier athlete and embattled sports personality.
In addition, the revealing comments from his family about the situation are quite telling.
But that feature piece got me thinking.
During the article, Manziel reveals how tired he is of people in general, and it explains just how expensive the price of fame can be to a 20-year-old kid.
And I stress kid.
Let’s call this what it is: it’s an atypical story about an typical college kid struggling to adapt to his newfound, very atypical notoriety.
I don’t doubt that it’s tough to cope when there are more eyes on you than you’re used to. I’ve been there.
What I do fear, however, is that Manziel may end up getting a pass because, after all, he’s just a kid.
He’s just like any other college student. He parties, he goes places and so on.
The only difference is that he may very well be the best collegiate football player in the nation.
But you know what? I’m tired of hearing about Manziel’s off-field exploits, whether it,’s doing something a person his age would do or struggling with the not-so-fun aspects of the spotlight.
I don’t care what he does anywhere save for on Saturdays because I think he’s a great player.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I kind of feel for the guy.
I wouldn’t want to be swamped with constant requests for autographs, photo ops or things like that 24/7.
But at the same time, if I wereJohnny Manziel, then I probably should have seen this coming.
I probably should have known that winning the Heisman would probably warrant a little bit of extra attention.
Perhaps I would have learned – or had people surrounding me that can help me to better manage my newfound fame so that I don’t lose sight of who I am as a person.
It’s no secret that Johnny Football is bigger than Johnny Manziel.
And it’s no secret that Manziel won’t be changing that anytime soon with the consistent fuel that his on-field “alter-ego” receives from the media, fans and so on.
But as he said at the SEC media days, Manziel is seemingly dead-set on continuing to be the 20-year-old that he is.
And while that’s all fine and dandy, the fact is that he’s no longer a 20-year-old college sophomore in the eyes of others.
He’s a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and as such, people hold him to a higher standard – and an arguably unjustified one at that.
And he has no choice but to accept it and find a balance, whether he wants to or not.
Bailey is sports editor for The Outlook.