Hotshot Cleveland Browns quarterback and aspiring cautionary tale, Johnny Manziel had himself a little vacation this Memorial Day weekend.
Manziel came under fire for spending a weekend in Las Vegas partying when minicamp was just starting to get rolling. When reporters and the rest of the media questioned whether or not this was a smart course of action for a draft pick who hasn’t taken a single snap in the NFL, Manziel decided to show us a whole new level of “whatever, y’all don’t know me” and insisted it was nobody’s business and he doesn’t answer to the media.
To be blunt, Mr. Johnny Football, you very much do answer to the media.
Whether or not it’s fair, Manziel is in the public eye and placed himself there by choice. Nobody put him in the draft at gunpoint, and had he stuck around to finish his degree at Texas A&M, he could have made a handsome living for himself in business or whatever it is Aggies do. He chose to do a spectacularly public thing for a living, and a sad, unfortunate reality of life is that those in public are subject to public judgement.
The other mistake he made was to roll his neck and truculently insist the media needs to back off. Again, to be blunt — big mistake, son.
Here’s the thing about the sports media. It’s an incredibly vindictive and judgmental subculture. From the humblest of bloggers to the most national of commentators,the media frankly gets to do whatever it wants, Mr. Johnny Football. So long as nobody is telling lies about you, the media gets to pick and choose what public occurrences are its business and which are not.
Manziel has yet to learn this cruel lesson. While at A&M, he thought it would be an intelligent idea to tweet about parking tickets and then roll up on a frat party in Austin, on the Texas campus — a rival team. When the media pounced all over him and he tried to tell sports writers how to do their job, that was the beginning of the end; they had your back until then.
Again, it’s an incredibly unfair thing about life, but if you are cooperative with the media, the media is cooperative with you. Start to get obnoxious with reporters and watch what happens to your image. If people wonder why someone like Metta World Peace gets a pass on punching a fan in the face and generally proving his own insanity but Ndamukong Suh can’t seem to buy a break, look at how they conduct themselves.
The media giveth and the media taketh away. Learn that and learn that quickly, son.
While still incredibly unfair, it’s reality. If Manziel wants the sports media to leave him alone, perhaps he should stop giving them really juicy stuff to write about. Nobody is writing about the other Browns players who were in South Florida for the weekend, because none of them have been loudmouth train wrecks, and nobody is going to read about a third-string running back who spent a weekend in the Ft. Lauderdale Sheraton. But when someone who has voluntarily thrust himself to the highest of high profiles parties in Vegas during training camp, people notice. No one’s not talking about them, Sparky — this is about you. Eyes front.
The other thing nobody seems to be pointing out is that Manziel is engaging the media, which merely feeds the fire. Ask Mike Gundy about that. He knows. He’s a man, he’s 40. Had Gundy let the whole thing go, nobody would have noticed. He engaged the troll, which is mortal sin No. 1 when in the public eye. The writers know this, since they don’t have the luxury of losing their patience with trolls. Manziel lashed out and said it was nobody’s business.
Yes, son. It’s everyone’s business, and if you’re going to make suiting up on Sundays what it is you do, it’s a cold, hard reality you’ll need to face. Being famous has its price.