As all of you football junkies prepare to sit down in front of your TV for countless hours with a freshly charged laptop ready to constantly refresh those fantasy football scores, I want to take a minute to talk about a kid that you will be looking to lock up for years to come once he steps foot on an NFL field in a year. His name? Johnny “Football” Manziel.
Basically anyone who has had their TV channel touch ESPN for even a second in the past 3 weeks knows the name Johnny “Football”. Whether it is from his ridiculously athletic/lucky play against Alabama last year which was touted as his “Heisman moment” or his pay for autograph scandal that has come up recently, or his well publicized night life, you have formed an opinion about him. He is arguably the most polarizing sports figure around right now, but without a doubt he is the most polarizing college football player in the game.
A common argument against Johnny Football is to claim he is “immature” and “not ready for the spotlight” by citing his well documented social media presence and what seems to be constant partying. NFL analysts and football fans alike tend to call his antics childish and have used his off-the-field actions to judge him as a football player and have developed a negative opinion of him as a person.
On the other hand, those on #teamjohnnyfootball believe that he is just a 20 year old kid in college enjoying some of the best years of his life. They tend to quietly sweep the whole underage drinking problem under the rug and simply coin it as a “thing you do in college”. They recognize Johnny’s unreal athleticism and ability to escape the pocket under pressure and deliver SportsCenter Top Play material almost every time he steps on the gridiron.
You can have whatever opinion you want about the kid, doesn’t really matter, what needs to be addressed when it comes to him is the amount of attention and weight that is placed on his social media activity as a 20 year old college student. Whether it be his anti-Texas A&M tweet or his countless tweets/Instagram pictures of him with scantly clad women at clubs and bars near College Station, his name and reputation is put on the line every time he posts anything. This is pretty freaky for a college student around his age like me. I know I am not nor I will ever be as popular or well known as Johnny Football, but to think someone my age could have every letter of every post he ever writes scrutinized under a microscope is unreal. He is 20, in college, and a household name, its a lot to handle, I think I could do without an analysis being done on everything he thinks.
There are a lot of people (me included) who see both sides. I mean, you are the first player in college football history to win the Heisman Trophy as a Freshman, you play at a top-10 football school, at the most publicized position, and are in the midst of several NCAA investigations about misconduct, you should probably watch what the hell you put on the internet. Come on man, we grew up in this technological age and know everything that touches a web address will never be fully erased from history. With that being said, he does have to be wary of what he puts out there for the world to see, but we can at least cut the kid some slack right?
What do you think? As an athlete in the limelight should we be allowed to scrutinize his actions? Is the attention he is getting too much? Should he be aware of the dangers that come with posting on the internet? Should off-the-field issues such as this be used to judge him as a player/person?