As soon as the Johnny Manziel firestorm was re-kindled in the past week I made a promise with, well, myself, that I wouldn’t write a single word about his condition or prognosticate on how his off-field shenanigans would affect his on-field performance for the Texas A&M Aggies this fall.
But, when it’s all said and done, I just couldn’t resist.
Johnny Manziel is a 20 year-old male.
Regardless of how earth-shattering it apparently is for some folks to believe, 20 year-old males drink alcohol, go to parties both in and outside of the boundaries of their college town (oh my), make wildly irrational decisions and speak before acting when the pressure is great and impulse carries them beyond reason.
It just so happens this particular 20 year-old male has other-worldy talent in carrying and throwing a football, thusly earning the attention of every single person — myself included — with access to a keyboard, blog or microphone. In short time, we’ve all become not only experts on morality and what a young man from Kerrville, Texas should be doing with his life– in spite of the fact few of us know him from Adam– but we’ve also decided his fate is sealed. That his off-field actions will be manifested in a full-on flop in 2013– one that will ruin his chances at an NFL career and derail a talent that has yet to fully mature.
With this I disagree, and disagree wholeheartedly.
First of all, Manziel’s been here before.
It took intervention from folks outside of the athletic department prior to the 2012 season to ensure his eligibility after a bar fight and subsequent arrest last summer in College Station. When the time came for Manziel to focus his attention to football, he did just that, and the rest is history.
Now, obviously, I’m not naive enough to believe he didn’t party during the season some or wasn’t drawn in by the same temptations that have troubled him over the past few summers, but if he did, he kept things in balance.
How he kept things in balance, honestly, is none of our business. And beyond this, it’s not like he would be a miracle worker to be able to have a good time off the field (even in-season, gasp), or even be the first to do so. I could rattle off a list of names a mile long here of guys who have done the same, but I won’t insult your intelligence or waste your time doing so.
For examples, see Benson, Cedric and Williams, Ricky.
The argument has been made that because Manziel is 20 he is drinking underage and in essence, breaking the law. This notion is so antiquated and arcane that it makes me want to cry. This isn’t 1930 anymore, boys and girls, it’s 2013.
Most young people do more drinking prior to their 21st birthday than they do throughout the remainder of the 20s, and in spite of this, we’re going to play morality police with someone who’s doing the same and just so happens to have a talent that separates him from his peers?
Surely there are better things to do.
In short, Johnny Manziel will do what he’s done prior to now.
He’ll trade the late nights for the playbook and focus — when he needs to focus — on playing football this fall. His talent will again prove he’s one of the nation’s best college football players, and the Aggies will be successful in spite of the desires of so many to watch him, and them, fail.
It’s a part of 21st-century, 24 hour news cycle America to want to drag down those who are successful by whatever means necessary, but Johnny Manziel will rise above it all whether you like it or not.