There is a double standard between icons and regular folk that has been around long before I was born.
Polarizing figures in sports like Mike Tyson and Michael Jordan are just two of the obvious examples, both athletes considered among the greatest in their sport with past incidents that wouldn’t end well for your everyday American citizen. More importantly, society has seemingly swept them under the rug and, in Tyson’s case, forgiven him because of their accomplishments.
In the case of Johnny Manziel, a 20-year old student-athlete who, although not as widely known as Tyson and Jordan, is still practically a household name, what are we supposed to make of everything that has gone on since he won the 2012 Heisman Trophy?
We get caught up and consumed in the life and times of anyone who has made a name for themselves. Whether you subscribe to People Magazine or just follow the gossip through Twitter, we are all guilty of it. The question at hand is not if they should be doing the things that keep their name in tabloids, but rather should we care this much?
In some cases, yes. Of course we should care and follow the latest news this much. It’s entertainment, after all; but should we be the ones to judge and say how someone should be living their lives?
I have been one of Manziel’s biggest critics. While I absolutely agree that over half of the things he has said and done have been stupid, I don’t agree with the non-stop hounding of Manziel. Has anyone thought that maybe someone who is acting out may not be acting any different than anyone else?
There is a gigantic microscope on Manziel, and he is an ant on a hot and sunny summer day in Texas.
Why? Because Manziel is an icon. But to suggest that he should sit in a classroom instead of taking online classes, shut up on social media, go to practice and then do nothing outside of his responsibilities as a student-athlete is asinine.
Then again, telling everyone to “walk a mile” in your shoes is dumb if you’re wording it in 140 characters as if you have had the hardest upbringing ever. Lashing out at your school and declaring that you can’t wait to leave on Twitter was probably not the best outlet to vent your frustration.
And you know, the the fake-id-bar-fight from last summer and every other alleged “Johnny Football Hangover” is probably not great for your resume.
But what I realized is something I think a lot of people need to realize. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with being both a student and an athlete; Manziel has failed some of those responsibilities and because he’s an icon, the camera is always rolling, even in the off-season … when he”s just doing what millions of other college students are doing on the weekends.
We saw Tim Tebow as a guardian angel, so we treat Manziel like the Devil — but really, he is just a 20-year old college kid enjoying himself. Unless Texas A&M goes 4-8, let us all give it a rest.
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