Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Media frenzy over latest Johnny Manziel controversy reveals more about media than it does Manziel.

A.J. McCarron, Johnny Manziel, and some new friends. Photo via al.com.

Texas A&M starting quarterback Johnny Manziel's sudden departure from the Manning Passing Academy football over the weekend has unleashed an well-expected media frenzy. The trouble is that in all the coverage very little has been revealed about whether or not Manziel's departure was due to illness (the official stiory) or yet another case of Johnny being Johnny.

For example, The Victory Formation's criticism of ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen's coverage of the story had more to do with how the WWL failed to give proper credit to the original report of the dismissal story, Rumors and Rants, than it do to whether or not Mort got the facts right or not.

"For starters, there weren’t internet reports. There was one report. Labeling it as if it was a message board fodder was inaccurate and irresponsible. Why would ESPN find it necessary to even report about Manziel being sick and going home? There isn’t a reason. The reason Mort investigated it and reported about it is because of Rumors and Rants report emerging that he was sent home by Archie Manning. Star players miss practices all the time, and this wasn’t even close to being important as an Aggies practice, except for the initial report said he was kicked out. Therefore, people like Mort and Mike Florio should have cited the story properly, but instead, they failed."

Then there was the following tweet from ESPN analyst Mark May, who couldn't help to finger-wag at Manziel on Twitter.


This led to Texas A&M blog Good Bull Hunting to drop the hammer on May by peeking into his legal run-ins when he was an offensive tackle at Pitt, and as a member of the Washington Redskins.

Of course (as the Pearl Jam song goes) "This behavior's not unique, for either May or the internet. It's another case of a media personality giving his uncalled for two cents, and a pro-school internet site responding in full.

Then SEC media gadfly-in-exile Paul Finebaum had to weigh into the Manziel fray. Finebaum already made waves accusing Manziel of having "a train wreck of an offseason." He's now doubled down and compared Manziel to a certain recent pop culture sensation.

"I feel like it's Thursday night again and I'm watching Sharknado," he said on SportsCenter. "You can't take your eyes off the screen. It's a train wreck, but it is very compelling, and it's also very disturbing for many reasons."

PAWL's obligatory reaction isn't even an original one since GIF-master CuppyCup had already made  the Manziel-Sharknado connection.


While this has been going on, there has been little attempt by traditional media sources to find out the full details surrounding Manziel's departure from the Manning camp. It's been left up to sites like Deadspin to detail Manziel's alleged hangover-causing partying on the Friday night before the departure with Alabama QB A.J. McCarron. Or whether or not Peyton and Eli Manning may have been partying with Manziel and McCarron, as suggested in photos posted online by Busted Coverage.

In the end, the coverage of the latest Manziel controversy has been more revealing about the media than it has about the incident itself. Which isn't shocking in the least bit.

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