He’s closer to the intersection of Kevin Federline and Kid Rock, about a trailer park away from Tonya Harding. He is a Texas-size dumpster fire who stands for nothing and is just plumb lucky that Texas A&M and NCAA investigators fall for everything.
In fact, in fairness to Manziel and the growing social crusade he has allegedly spawned for the humane treatment of jailed, shirtless Heisman winners everywhere, I thought hard about the stupidest thing I did at 20.
Oh, yeah. When I was playing college basketball very sparingly at a junior college in Northern California, I learned to steal from the gymnasium soda machine. Two teammates working in unison showed me how to tilt the machine back until Dr Peppers and Cokes tumbled down the metal chute.
Except when I tried this stunt by myself while working at a freight company, rocking that 6-foot-2 behemoth once, twice, three times, the machine . . . fell on me.
All anyone reported seeing after the booming, violent thud was my head and outstretched forearms, as if I had come dressed to work as a giant Mountain Dew machine and decided to lie down on my back. My right knee crushed through the hard plastic facade.
When my supervisor went to get a pen for me to sign my termination papers, I stole every M&M out of his desk candy jar — because I would show him how dumb he was to lose a guy who dropped the break-room soda machine on himself while trying to steal from the company.
But at least my complete idiocy at 20 didn’t affect my chosen profession as an adult or endanger my college career. No one cared or wrote about my marginal college athletic career.
The only difference between me at 20 and Manziel at 20 is everything. People care who he is and what he does when he’s not slaying Alabama on national television.
What Johnny Football — Foosball, Foolsgold, whatever — doesn’t get is that he’s not playing at a no-name junior college in the nooks and crannies of East Texas. He signed an athletic scholarship to play in College Station, at Texas A&M, which began competing last season in the most successful and scrutinized conference in college football.
Prominent athletes who stand to reap great rewards from their considerable physical talent and personal appeal have to understand, even at 20, that they are held to a higher standard of decency and behavior than other kids hitting the kegger in the back of the dorm room. Signing a scholarship with a school of Texas A&M’s caliber means you literally sign up for that double standard.