Why you SHOULDN’T Hate Johnny Football

Aaron Pellot
Sports Writer

Courtesy of Deadspin.com

Courtesy of Deadspin.com

Jonathan Paul Manziel, commonly referred to as simply Johnny Manziel, and these days, more commonly referred to as “Johnny Football,” sure is one interesting character. For those not familiar with Manziel, you might have missed an episode of Sports-Center, for the past 5 months. Manziel, outside of LeBron James, seemingly is the most popular athlete in America. The Texas A&M quarterback was cast into the spotlight last year, by beating then number one Alabama in Tuscaloosa, pushing him to be the first Freshmen to win the coveted Heisman trophy, ever.

Since then, it has been an interesting summer for Mr. Manziel. He has been seen courtside with his super model girlfriend, at NBA games, with Drake, and other celebrities all over the country. Of course with this, comes speculation of the NCAA’s worst fear: illegal benefits. In a country where the public often treats those in the spotlight as “guilty until proven innocent”, it was real easy to question whether Johnny was getting the money under the table. ESPN The Magazine’s Wright Thompson soon cleared this all up in the August cover piece on Manziel. With a family oil fortune that Johnny’s dad describes as, “It isn’t Garth Brooks money, but its a lot of money”, we quickly learned of the wealth associated to the Manziel family.

Even with clarity provided on whom and where the Manziels come from, why is there still such a dark shadow cast on Johnny as a person? Is it because he’s rich, and that’s “unfair?” Is it because he’s arrogant and has an attitude? Or is it because we as a public “expect more” from the ones we idolize? Truth is Johnny is a kid. Spoiled? Sure. A punk at times? Of course. Let’s not forget, Johnny won the Heisman TWO DAYS after his 20th birthday. To be an icon at 20 years old is unfathomable. At the end of the day, it may be easy to cast judgment on Johnny Football, but I can be first to say, I’m 21, and can think of 30 mistakes I made in the last week. You shouldn’t hate Johnny Manziel because you see him on ESPN all day and every day, if anything you should be intrigued. Your intrigue should come from the fact that a 20 year old kid just beat the NCAA as an organization, and may change the dynamics of college athletics, forever.