And then, there's Johnny Manziel.
It seems like yesterday when Johnny Football was scrambling around the college football landscape, making himself a regular on ESPN's "Top Ten Plays". Winning the Heisman Memorial Trophy among many accolades, Manziel was undoubtedly a household name, whether you watched college football regularly or not. He was charismatic on and off the field, bringing a swagger about the game with his trash talk and his "money hands". Off the field, Manziel became friends with the biggest of names in sports, and routinely made appearances at parties, casinos, night clubs and many more adventures.
Oh, How quickly has the aura of "Johnny Football" faded.
Manziel, a first round pick for Cleveland in 2014, has yet to again capture the level of greatness he saw at Texas A&M. Through 11 career games played in the NFL, the stat line of Manziel follows:
A 57.7 completion percentage, 5 touchdowns to 4 interceptions, with a passer rating of 78.5.
We can give Johnny a slight break here, as Cleveland is where quarterback careers go to die (google search "Browns quarterbacks since Bernie Kosar") and Manziel hasn't been able to start on a regular basis.
Yet this is the NFL. You either come to play, or you have your locker cleaned out. No excuses are made at the professional level. However with how poorly Manziel has played on the field, it's more-so the actions taken off the field that has held him back. The long line of questionable-at-best decisions has haunted Manziel since the day he started playing college football, and continues to do so as you read this right now. However no matter what happens, Manziel continues to out-do himself.
Just a few days ago, a video released by TMZ showed Manziel drinking at a party, singing and posing with a few others in the video for their cameras. This is coming after Manziel checked himself into a alcohol rehabilitation center back in February. After being confronted, Johnny reportedly lied to team officials about the timing of the video, saying it was from a long ago college party, and of course, the team found out it was filmed during the Browns' bye week this season. Shortly after finding out Manziel lied about the incident, Cleveland quickly demoted Manziel down to third-string.
And somehow, someway, the downfall of Manziel's career is the media's fault.
The excuses of "He's a 22 year old kid" or "The media is always in his personal life, let him live" have grown far and old.
YES, he's a 22 year old "kid". He's going to make some mistakes and have some growing pains. But how many 22 year old's have the privilege of being an NFL quarterback? Getting paid millions upon millions to play the great game of football? But the same mistake of going out and partying when you know you are representing an organization and making an ass out of yourself can't be accounted for time and time again. Want to drink? Even though you went to rehab because you know you have a problem? Do it in the privacy of your own home. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.
Mr. Football, no need to plead insane to the court of public eye, your actions show it.
YES, there's constant media eyes upon Manziel. He's a professional athlete that loves attention (good or bad attention, apparently). From the early stages of being recruited in high school, Johnny was taught the simple idea that he lives in a fish bowl, and everybody around him is watching him and waiting for him to make a mistake. Players, both at the college and professional level, consistently have interaction with media members. When Manziel inked his signature on his rookie contract, he knew exactly what came with the job at hand.
Every year for the NFL Draft, 224 young men are selected from the college level and immediately have the title "professional football player" attached to them. Why is it that we rarely hear about a player matching Johnny Manziel pound-for-pound when it comes to off the field issues? It's quite funny how Buccaneers rookie quarterback Jameis Winston had about the same trouble as Manziel in college, yet we have yet to hear anything bad about him since he has been in the league?
He did what Manziel should have done, and that's clean up his act.
For the media, their job is to cover on the material they're given. Don't want bad stuff written about you? Don't do bad stuff! Pretty simple right?
I'm not calling for Johnny to be crucified, I'm not wishing anything remotely bad on Johnny, I want Johnny to succeed and be the quarterback everybody saw at Texas A&M.
Yet Manziel took the opportunity of a lifetime, and practically threw it away. His poor play and antics that lay off the field are a scary sight to any potential suitors in the future. Metaphorically speaking, Johnny's career is on fire and currently burning down, yet he is the one with matches in his hand.