by Kent Sterling
It’s hard to fathom that Johnny Manziel believes what comes out of his own mouth, but he seemed pretty sure of himself in comments to Sports Illustrated yesterday.
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“I probably rubbed people the wrong way in some cases, but at the end of the day, people are mad at me and people are upset at me because I’m doing everything they want to do.
“I’m adapting. I’m learning. I’m trying to learn from these mistakes. But I’m not going to change who I am because the media wants me to be this, this or this. I’m not going to do that. . . . You love me when I’m running around being dangerous and a loose cannon. What makes me special on the field is what people don’t like off the field. I’m still learning how to put that into perspective.”
Manziel, as we would expect, misses what is driving this story from day to day – the fascinating spectacle of watching a kid with everything misbehave his way back to the unruly pack.
He’s not envied by the media or anyone else. Johnny Manziel is a car wreck people can’t stop watching, and he won’t hit the brakes or turn the wheel to avoid the cliff that he’s rushing toward.
He needs to understand is that you don’t satisfy the appetite for information by feeding it. The media and those who consume it must be starved. If Manziel wants a normal life, like he claims, the road is through silence. Don’t say a word to anyone in the media and stay the hell off Twitter. A total media blackout will send people to the next idiot who steps on his crank in public.
But that won’t happen because Manziel doesn’t believe he’s doing anything wrong. He’s indulging every impulse because no one in his life has ever told him no. His parents are available for interviews where they happily air family laundry, and the dad reportedly brings boxes of swag to be autographed by Johnny for family and friends.
Normal can’t be found in the same area code where Manziel lives, and no one near him is willing to introduce him to it.
Two quotes from the same interview are so diametrically opposed in their tone and content that the confusing battle for this kid’s soul is in full view:
- “That probably is what’s getting us in trouble—wanting to be normal. We want to be just like we’ve always been, where none of this is a big deal.”
- “When we look back 20, 30 years down the road, we’re going to sit there and be like, We pretty much hung out with the f***in’ Beatles. We pretty much did everything we wanted to do.”
What he’s saying is, “I want to be normal, but being special is way too much fun!”
The shame is that Manziel could make a conscious choice to be either special or normal, but can’t.
By admitting he’s special, he moves beyond the life he has always enjoyed. By embracing the life he has always led, he denies himself the fruit of his amazing talent.
Manziel can’t have it both ways. He will either choose, or his behavior will choose for him.
Instead of talking to rap stars like Drake about how to cope with fame, he should talk to Todd Marinovich, whose life as a stud quarterback was a nightmare. He’s now a very talented artist having left football and all its trappings behind.
Manziel can be what he wants to be, but the plug must be pulled on the sideshow he’s created. His choice should be none of our business, but with every tweet and interview he creates more interest in the train wreck his life is becoming.
It’s not anger and jealousy fueling the interest in his life – it’s his inability to turn off the spigot from which this drama flows.
Johnny may have a point. In a country where the lazy are put in the front of the line and the successful are demonized, Johnny Manziel is public enemy #1 – because that’s how talented he is. Has he done some dumb things? Yeah. But nothing earth shaking, and certainly nothing scores of other kids his age are doing, and nothing that many grown celebrities aren’t doing who the press loves. What’s different about Johnny that they go after him? Unlike those other celebrities, he’s got raw talent in its purest form. Can’t have that can we? No, we have to go on and on for over 2 weeks about a tweet, or about him over sleeping. Oh and OMG. He actually admits he’s pretty good at football. How could someone who has set record after record and who is the only freshman Heisman winner say such a thing. The truth hurts Mr. Sterling.
Johnny, is that you? LOL.
Tom, please shut up.
John, don’t be mad bro. You’re just another one of the envious jealous guys that hates Manziels success.
I don’t know anyone who resents Manziel’s success. There has never been any envy expressed by anyone that I have read or seen. Believing it’s a matter of jealousy is the root of the problem Manziel appears to have. The people paying attention to the story are gawkers waiting for a meltdown. These stories cycle through every now and then, and Americans enjoy watching the fireworks before they burn out.
People who resent Manziel’s success because of envy are going to express resentment, not envy.
In his quote “I probably rubbed people the wrong way in some cases, but at the end of the day, people are mad at me and people are upset at me because I’m doing everything they want to do.”, he says “people” are mad at him. Maybe some journalists think they’re the only ones Johnny is hearing. But maybe he was referring to the barrage of “haters” on twitter that gets him all riled up.
You must admit some of them spout off about pretty stupid things, and I would bet a lot of that angst comes from childish jealousy rather than a strict moral code.
As for the gawkers waiting for a meltdown. Why are they waiting for a meltdown?
Some of it is things he should be called on. Like tweeting about wanting to get out of College Station (not worth 2 weeks of 24/7 reporting though), or being a screwup at the passing academy.
Some of it is envy.
He flashes money. His dad got him a Mercedes-Benz. He gets courtside seats. His family is rich. It’s not illegal or against any rules. That leaves jealousy. Not to get into politics, but the so-called 99 percent have been whining for not having money like those that earn it do. Jealousy, envy, call it what you want. Why else would they care?
Like I said, the successfull in this country are deamonized. Gawkers want to see them meltdown because it brings the successfull down to their level or lower. Why? Envy.
It’s morbid curiosity. Right now, Manziel tweaks the same urge to gawk as Lindsay Lohan or Charlie Sheen have. That he has a Benz in College Station is ridiculous and unnecessary, but I’m not sure if anyone nationally had been made aware of his family’s wealth until the ESPN the Magazine piece.
I don’t think anyone is rooting for the kid to crash, but some enjoy it in the same way they have liked watching Hamlet on stage for 400 years. Manziel brings drama, and whether he crashes or finds redemption, people will watch because Americans are voyeurs.
My interest is in hoping the dad grows a sack and starts treating the kid like his son and not his buddy.
Johnny Boy is just that, a Boy. He acts like one & doesn’t think before he acts or speak. It’s millions of kids that would love to be in his position & I guarantee the negative press wouldn’t be so negative. Yes it is tons of 20 year olds behaving like Jonny Boy but how many of those people have the spotlight like this kid? Like it or not someone’s child is taking notes on how to act when the cameras are on & if you agree with his behavior don’t be surprised if its yours. Tebow came from a wealthy family as well & we never saw this kind of negative press. It simply shows the different up bringings of the two & the direction the world is headed in when a kid works his heart out, praises & thanks God for his success gets ignored but a kid who lives the life of a rebel is seen as a hero by most because he’s standing up for what he thinks is right. BEWARE WORLD