Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A few thoughts on the Wright Thompson's Johnny Manziel article.

You may already be aware of Wright Thompson's ESPN article on Texas A&M starting quarterback Johnny Manziel. If not you seriously need to check it out.

A few thoughts on the article:

Started from the bottom...no he didn't.
One of the first things Thompson deals with in the article that most stories on Manziel never seem to get into is his family's wealth. Talk of the family's background never came into play until after Manziel appeared on TNT sitting the front row at a Houston Rockets game, prompting Steve Kerr's infamous comments about JFF's NCAA eligibility.

I've never been able to find an exact figure on how wealthy the Manziels are, but in the article, Johnny's father, Paul Manziel, comments that while it's substantial, "It's not Garth Brooks money." (Brooks is reportedly worth around $150 million).

The fact that Manziel came from a wealthy background shows how radically different he is from many college athletes who came from a lower-to-middle-class background. If it wasn't for football, Manziel's antics on the would probably be another anonymous rich fratboy waiting college out for when he could take a corner office in his family's company.

Meet the parents.
You have to feel for Johnny Manziel's parents. Manziel's mother bemoans the fact that Johnny goes to Drake on how to handle his celebrity instead of her. His dad sees a lot of his younger self. His annoyance at dealing with NCAA compliance and the fact that other people are reaping the financial benefits of his son's gridiron success comes off more as more the outrage of an Ayn Rand devotee over taxes than a father waiting to cash in on his son's talents. Both seem frustrated over their inability to to help Johnny through the whirlwind he's living in.

I was of a feeling it was out of control. 
No one was prepared for Johnny Football, not the Manziels, not Texas A&M, not Johnny Himself. The best thing to happen to Manziel off the field last season may have been Kevin Sumlin's policy of denying media access to freshman players. It kept the reporters away from Manziel, and gave him some breathing room for a few months. On the other hand, it helped turn Johnny Football into a bigger-than-life figure, quickly overshadowing the real Jonathan Paul Manziel.

Thompson's article paints Johnny Manziel and his family as being trapped in a situation they weren't prepared for. The biggest threat to Manziel's ability to control the whirlwind around him is a support system that no matter how well-intended, was as inadequate to handle Johnny Football as the levees of New Orleans were able to deal with Hurricane Katrina. Hopefully, there's still a chance to weather the storm.

(via ESPN)

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