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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The absurdity of the ''Johnny Football'' lynch mob

Let's face it. When you win the Heisman Trophy, the title stays with you even after you die. The obituary will read, "Heisman Trophy winner Joe Blow died today. He was 91."

When you receive that heavy conglomeration of granite and pewter, it's yours forever. Some flourish after winning the Heisman, like Roger Staubach, Barry Sanders and Earl Campbell, all the way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Others, like Gino Torretta, Eric Crouch and Shawn White, have not.

So when Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to ever win the Heisman last year, it was his forever. And it made everyone wonder if Manziel could win two, like Archie Griffin did in the 1970s for Ohio State,
or who knows, maybe even three.

But the Texas A&M wonder, affectionately known for his catchy nickname of "Johnny Football," has certainly been the center of attention ever since he won the Heisman last December.

Oh, look there's Johnny Football with great seats for a Houston Rockets game. How did he afford those tickets? Look, now he's in the elite crowd at the Staples Center for a Lakers game. How'd he get there?

Then, Manziel goes to the Manning family passing camp in June and has a few too many beers one night and ends up in New Orleans on Bourbon Street. That earned him an expulsion from the camp and made everyone who watches ESPN as religiously as I watch Law and Order cringe in disgust.

How could Johnny Football do that? To the Manning family no less.

Now, good old Johnny Football is in another mess. He apparently has signed his name about 36,000 times and has received umpteen dollars for doing so.

In the eyes of the almighty and totally hypocritical NCAA, that's a no-no. A student-athlete should not receive any money for selling autographs or memorabilia. You could lose your precious amateur status and receive a bad boy hand slap from the precious NCAA.

So that's what Manziel has to deal with these days. Again, the spotlight shines bright on Johnny Football and not in a positive way and certainly not on a football field.

Here's the one thing that is getting lost in all of this Manziel madness. He's a kid. He's only 20 years old. Do you remember when you were 20? Were you doing whacky things like getting drunk and going on a road trip? I know I certainly did. I did some insane and crazy things drunk in college.

So what's the big deal if he got drunk? OK, he's underage. There aren't millions of other kids his age downing brews and doing something silly? Of course there are.

And as for the hypocritical NCAA, Manziel should be able to profit off his Heisman Trophy. After all, the NCAA has tried to profit off Manziel's popularity.

Until last week, the NCAA had on its website the chance to buy a maroon and white football jersey (Texas A&M's colors) with the No. 2 on it (Manziel's number) and the name FOOTBALL on the back. All for the tidy sum of $89.99.

OK, the jersey doesn't say Manziel, but we all know what the intent was.

So the NCAA is now launching an investigation into whether Manziel profited from his autograph and there are at least seven memorabilia collectors who have now come forward to say that they paid Johnny Football hundreds for signing helmets, jerseys and footballs.

I say two words: "Big deal."

Let him be. He's a kid. He's not hurting the integrity of anything by signing his name. He's not a bad kid. He hasn't done anything illegal. He hasn't gotten arrested for DUI, hasn't displayed a handgun and is not doing drugs.

But sure enough, Manziel has been under scrutiny every single day since he won that blasted award.

Let's face more facts. If he wasn't the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, would anyone care what he did?
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I just wrote nearly 800 words without mentioning A-Rod. I should have my library card revoked...

I'm currently at the Mexico-Ivory Coast soccer game at MetLife Stadium. I know, too much excitement for words. But anyway, it's like watching the Monty Python matchup of the British gynecologists against the Long John Silver impersonators. If you're not a Python fan, you won't get that reference.

But Mexico is going up and down the field, much to the delight of their fans, who keep singing the old "Frito Bandito" song from the commercials over and over. OK, I know it's been the Mexicans rally cry long before it was the jingle for a corn chip.

It's days like today why I get paid the big bucks. Just wait until I have to go get quotes in the mixed zone, my very favorite aspect of international soccer, especially when I don't speak Spanish...

Geno Smith threw four interceptions in practice today? Four? He's fitting right into the Jets' offense...

Jonathan Hilliman of St. Peter's Prep, my alma mater, will make his college football decision known tomorrow. The speedy Hilliman has narrowed his choices to Ohio State and Rutgers. Oh, to be young again and have the world eating out of your hand. Every high school football player should have such a tough choice.

One thing is for sure: Kyle Flood has been an absolute breath of fresh air since he took over for that used car salesman liar who now coaches the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Flood has returned class and dignity to the head coaching ranks on the banks of the old Raritan. Every high school football player should aspire to play for someone such as Flood. He's an absolute joy and gives me respect by calling me "Mr. Hudson County." I like the way that sounds.
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You can read more of my work at www.hudsonreporter.com, www.theobserver.com and www.dailyrecord.com.



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