Coach Sumlin and quarterback Manziel
Nothing good ever happens at 1:30 in the morning. Especially at 1:30 on a Sunday morning. For Texas A&M football fans in College Station, Texas, one little tweet at 1:38 a.m. local time by Heisman-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel caused some Aggie angst.
“[expletive] like tonight is a reason why I can’t wait to leave College Station … whenever it may be," Manziel tweeted.
As reported by The Dallas Morning News' Kate Hairopoulos, Manziel quickly deleted the tweet and followed that up with, "Don't ever forget that I love A&M with all of my heart, but please please walk a day in my shoes."
Actually, most fans would love to be in his shoes. Even some sportswriters are shaking their heads at the madness that is Manziel. Atlanta Journal Constitution's Mark Bradley probably said it best:
Let’s see: Heisman winner, idol of millions, friend of James Harden—are those shoes really so uncomfortable? Just by saying that, I realize I’m stamping myself as a HATER, but let’s be clear. I don’t hate Johnny Manziel. I just hate that he seems determined to take a great story and turn it into a cautionary tale..
Manziel came out of nowhere, is the most popular football player in Texas and would never have to pay for another meal in Texas if it weren't for the NCAA ostensibly cramping his style.
He is the bad boy of college football without doing anything really bad. What he is doing is worse—he is disrespecting a military school that thrives on discipline.
This is Texas A&M, whose band members perform no less than six inches apart from each other in counter marches. Who spend 40 hours a week in band-oriented activities aside from their academic schedules and ROTC commitments.
This is also the Texas A&M whose star quarterback decided to take classes online because going to the classroom was too much of a distraction. Who shoved a graduate assistant after an interception. Who tweets pictures of himself at professional athletic events and then wonders why critics question how he got privileged courtside or locker room access.
So much for discipline. So much for understanding how the NCAA pops schools for egregious student-athlete violations.
Former quarterback Tim Tebow did not react to this type of sudden fame at Florida. Or maybe he did and chose not to publicize it. It is not fair to compare Tebow to Manziel, but they do have a lot in common. They both experienced incredible success in only their second year in college. Manziel won the 2012 Heisman as a redshirt freshman and Tebow won it as a true sophomore in 2007.
They were both big men on campus and revived their respective football programs. They sold a lot of jerseys and have polarizing personalities.
One has been humbled by his football experience. Another is hell-bent on ignoring red flags and acting like his elevator will never hit the ground floor again.
Johnny Football is the male version of the Kardashians: one minute posing for the paparazzi, the next minute complaining about how hard it is living in the spotlight. Make up your mind, kiddo.
The rebel football player has been fun to watch. But after one year, his act has grown stale.
There will be life after Johnny Football; that will probably be in 2014. And when the hoopla fades and Manziel rides off into the diva-esque sunset of professional football, Kevin Sumlin will be left with a team that has been exposed to a crack in the legendary Texas A&M facade.
Unwritten rules can be broken. Personal discipline is preached but not practiced by all.
Manziel is now enrolled in regular classes and that is a big step. But it needs to go further. Sumlin needs to put away the kid gloves and demand Manziel refrain from using social media. Better yet, ban the whole team from using social media.
If one soldier messes up in an infantry unit, the whole platoon suffers the consequences.
For Texas A&M football, it is time to get back to its military roots. The future of Aggie football will be better for it.