Being Johnny Manziel isn’t easy. But by now, we all have Johnny Manziel fatigue. It’s real, and it’s growing. And the season isn’t even here yet.
ESPN The Magazine’s Wright Thompson goes in depth with a very open and honest look at Manziel and his family. You can read the article here.
However you view Manziel – whether you love him, hate him or are just tired of him, there’s something for everyone in the article.
Nonetheless, a couple things in the article stand out:
1. Manziels and TAMU
There’s a growing disconnect between the Manziels and Texas A&M. Here’s a snippet from the article when he and his dad are playing golf together:
‘I don’t enjoy playing golf with him because I don’t want to see that temper,’ he’ll say later. ‘I honestly do not. I cringe when he wants to play golf. I don’t want to do it, but I know I have to do it. Because he still needs love. He still needs guidance. He still needs to see he’s wrong — and how to control his temper. And if I give up on him, who’s gonna take over? The school sure the hell isn’t gonna do it.”
Here’s more from Thompson about the family and Texas A&M:
This January, Johnny’s family wanted his copy of the Heisman, which the school told them hadn’t arrived yet from New York, Paul says. So finally Paul contacted the Heisman Trust, which told them it had shipped the trophy directly to Texas A&M. Paul suspected the school misled him, using the second Heisman to double its fundraising and recruiting possibilities. Texas A&M, through a spokesman, appeared baffled at the accusation, and it’s difficult to find the line between a lie and a simple miscommunication. (The Manziels received their Heisman in January.)
The Manziels don’t understand why the school lets the NCAA probe their lives, starting with the assumption that they are cheating, as if an endless back and forth about a rich family spending money really addresses the most dangerous consequences of Johnny’s fame…Johnny is in the wilderness of his own bad decisions right now. From the Manziels’ perspective, everyone, from Sumlin to the school to the NCAA, seems to care deeply, even profoundly, about helping him through, just a little bit less than they care about helping themselves.
“It’s starting to get under our skin,” Paul says. “They’re so selfish.”
The Manziels are tired of a coach getting a million dollars and their son getting an appointment with a therapist. They’re tired, and they’re scared, because they’ve seen the pressure build and build, and they don’t know what might happen next.
2. Manziel likely won’t be at Texas A&M next year
Both parents told Thompson they don’t expect their son to return to College Station. Ultimately, it’s his life, and he’s going to make the final decision. But just by reading this on Manziel, it sounds like he’s over everything. This has been my consensus since the offseason craziness began.
Both his parents believe he won’t return for another season in College Station, and until he leaves, they can give love and support and pray that Johnny Football doesn’t completely devour Johnathan Manziel.
3. On the edge
I have a couple of different emotions after reading Thompson’s article. First, this may be the first time I actually want to feel sorry for him. He can’t buy a shirt without everyone knowing the size and color of it the next day. Sure, he brings a lot of it upon himself. I get that. But he lives in a fishbowl. He’s just like his father, who also happens to have a bad temper himself. He admits it in the article, and it’s almost like he’s too much like his father for them to have a healthy father/son relationship. I mean, his mom and dad wanted ‘jffmom’ and ‘jffdad’ on their license plates, and the 17-year-old sister had to step in and make the executive decision not to. Leadership, anyone?
Another takeaway is Johnny takes everything personally, and he soaks it all in. He’ll respond to 10 critics on Twitter and get more worked up about that than close to 100,000 people rattling Kyle Field. He just can’t seem to let the negativity roll off his back.
Can you name another polarizing figure in sports outside of Lebron James who divides like Johnny Manziel?
Photo Credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports