Johnny Manziel Needs To Stop Being Johnny Football

By Spenser Walters
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

It goes without saying that winning the Heisman Trophy pretty much turns an athlete into an overnight celebrity. Much has already been said about Johnny Manziel’s attempt to balance being a football player and household name, but I’d like to add my two cents: Johnny Manziel needs to stop being Johnny Football.

The quarterback of the Texas A&M Aggies had an insanely good freshman season in 2012, and for that was awarded the Heisman, which he deserved. A&M ended up winning the Cotton Bowl and finished up the year 12-2 in their first season in the SEC, which was impressive, and it would seem that the Aggies are now considered God’s gift to college football, which is absolutely stupid. One great season and recruiting class in the past 10 doesn’t make a program the best around, but I digress. This is about Manziel.

The 20-year-old QB is acting like 18-year-old Justin Bieber. We all recall pictures involving Manziel wearing a certain carton dog costume, but that comes with going to school in College Station where your entertainment options are going drinking or going drinking, so I’m fine with that. What bothers me, and I have no doubts that it bothers a few of his teammates, is the way Manziel seems to be more focused on being a celebrity than playing the sport that made him a name.

Most recently it came out that Manziel’s corporation, JMAN2 Enterprises, is suing a man who sold t-shirts with Manziel’s nickname “Johnny Football” on them. The suit claims that the man infringed on Manziel’s trademark rights by using the nickname associated with Manziel. The quarterback apparently filed trademark papers for the phrase “Johnny Football” on Feb. 2, and most ridiculously the NCAA has stated that Manziel would be allowed to keep any money earned from the legal action. Apparently student athletes can be paid after all.

This whole deal raises a lot of questions: Why the hell does Manziel have a corporation? Why is it so easy to get paid for being a college athlete? Doesn’t this go against the whole idea behind “student-athletes?”

Technically JMAN2 cannot make money off of, or for, Manziel until after his NCAA eligibility runs out or until he makes the move to go pro, so I suppose that maintains the whole non-professional thing for Manziel. Still, I can’t help but be blown away that the NCAA is letting a college football player make money like this. It seems like a classic loophole scenario. I also can’t help but wonder if a player who wasn’t as well awarded as Manziel could pull this off.

The bottom line is this: Manziel doesn’t seem to care about being a student-athlete anymore. Celebrity-athlete seems right up his alley though.

Manziel said last week that he will be taking all online courses because of his celeb status on campus at A&M. That makes sense seeing how Aggies are insane and obsessive about everything involving their school, but still seems to have an air of snobbish-ness about it. Manziel needs to focus on not having a sophomore slump and getting A&M to the SEC Championship Game. Anything less than that and the Aggies will be back where they came from. Johnny Manziel needs to focus on playing football, not being Johnny Football.    

Follow Spenser Walters on Twitter @SpenserWalters

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