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Did Manziel break one rule too many?
In the end, we don't know for sure if Johnny Manziel even broke any rules. If ESPN's story is right, and he accepted a five-figure payment under the table for autographs and memorabilia around the BCS title game in January, then he is in for an NCAA investigation and could be ineligible to play.
I'm not sure, really, why a guy whose brand is worth big money can't cash in. The rules are built around an antiquated ideal of amateurism.
What we do know for sure, though, is that this is within Manziel’s character.
He can't stop himself.
That is his character. It’s the definition of it. He's like a guy who just won the lottery and will blow it all right now because now is when he has it. And now is when he spends things. And that will be worth it to him.
He's like an untrained dog with food in front of him. There is no reason not to devour it now.
There is zero self control, zero reservation, zero hesitation.
Manziel drinks too much, parties too much, grabs too much and, according to a longer previous story on ESPN.com, resents anyone who tries to stop him (NCAA), and anyone who gains off of him (Texas A&M and Coach Kevin Sumlin).
It doesn't matter if they are giving something to him first. What they are taking could have been his.
There are worse traits in a person than absolute self-absorption. But the problem for Manziel is that sometimes you have to live by rules. They are about order, and getting along, and working together.
Annoying as they are, sometimes they’re necessary. That’s why he got kicked out of the Manning quarterback camp. If one guy is grabbing for everything and doesn't think rules apply to him, then he had better be special enough to fly over them.
Manziel is not.
We're not even sure he's good enough to make it in the NFL. He might just be the product of a great system. NFL teams aren't sure either.
And if they think he can't play by the rules or control himself and work with others, then they won't want him.
The truth is that he doesn't know for sure himself. He acts as if he thinks this is his moment, his high point.
There seems to be the feeling that's Manziel is being burned by this crazed Heisman spotlight in an era of social media. It has created a bubble for him, suffocated him.
He can't breathe.
Has anyone been paying attention to him?
If that is really a problem for him it's not because of the spotlight, but because of who he is, how he is.
Imagine that you’d think: Everything in front of you is yours for the taking, and suddenly a world of things is dropped in front of you.
So sure, maybe this is just too much in front of him and he can't stop eating. But that was already the case before the Heisman, too.
Remember, he was nearly kicked off the team before last year, when he was still able to get away with using a fake ID. Alcohol in front of him. Rules stopping him? Ha.
That is why his dad is worried that everything will unravel.
Manziel can’t stop himself. Just look at how he keeps mishandling himself on Twitter.
I talked to one top player in the Big 12 who laughed and said that the media and fans don’t understand this about Twitter: Young people today use it as a way of building celebrity. Even the Average Joe uses it to try to become one.
Now I don't know all about Johnny Football’s childhood, though I feel as if we're watching it now, complete with temper tantrums.
But we do know he's a wealthy kid who grew up a star high school quarterback. And so many like him are taught that rules don't apply to them.
So ESPN cites multiple anonymous sources saying that he hooked up with an autograph broker and signed and signed and signed for a five-figure payment.
No one saw him get the money. It could be that the story is wrong, though the NCAA is said to be looking into it already.
But if it's true then he will be in violation of NCAA rules.
It will be interesting to see if the NCAA, or A&M, has the nerve to enforce rules on Manziel. It might turn out that he’s right, and that he is above the rules.
We all have to live by the good ones, and the bad ones, at times. Even Johnny Football has to. Doesn’t he?
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