bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Who do I like less, the NCAA or Johnny Manziel?

No Gravatar

I know that I have recently written about Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, as well as about the NCAA, an organization that is coming apart at the seams. I hate to repeat subjects in short order, but it is impossible for me to avoid writing about them this week. There are so many facets to this story that I feel like I would not be doing my job if I didn’t put forth my opinion on what happened this week down in College Station, starting with the absurd penalty levied against Manziel by the NCAA for his autograph shenanigans, and ending with the complete douchebaggery of Manziel’s performance against Rice on Saturday in his team’s opener.

Much noise has been made of Johnny Manziel’s signing of hundreds of items that were later sold by memorabilia dealers. It seems completely ridiculous to believe that Manziel did not receive any money for signing his name all those times. I can not begin to fathom what reason he would have for doing any of it if he were not being paid to do it. In the end, the NCAA decided that it had no actual evidence that the player had been paid, so no real violation had occurred. Instead, it invoked a bizarre rule that says, essentially, that he should have known that someone would profit off of his name by doing this, so he was guilty of a minor violation and would be suspended for the first half of A&M’s game against Rice. You read that correctly. He was being suspended for HALF of a game. Against a relatively weak, non-conference opponent, no less. They could not have offered a sillier punishment if they had tried. The Twitter-world exploded with jokes and sarcasm about yet another clear misstep by college sports’ governing body in an era full of them. The most ludicrous part of the whole thing is the actual rule they invoked. No one profits more from Johnny Manziel’s name than the NCAA itself. To suggest that he should be punished because he should have known that someone could profit from his name without considering how hypocritical this would be, coming from the NCAA, is comical. Until a couple of weeks ago, you could search for the name “Johnny Manziel” on the NCAA’s own website and buy his jersey. The message is clearly that a bunch of bureaucrats and college presidents should be allowed to make a buck off of his name, but he, himself, should be punished for allowing someone else (not even himself, presumably) to do the same.

I can only say so much to defend Manziel, honestly. I will state my opposition to the NCAA’s stupidity, but I would be much happier doing it on behalf of a player who was less of a total tool than this guy. He has shown, since he first came on the scene, that he is a showboat and a guy who has little regard for how his actions are perceived. He took that to another level once he entered the game against Rice on Saturday. He consistently taunted other players and made gestures that, essentially, patted himself on the back over and over. In the fourth quarter, after throwing his third touchdown pass of the half, he started trash-talking with some Rice players. He ignored the official’s warning, continuing to mouth off, and he drew a fifteen-yard penalty for taunting. His coach, Kevin Sumlin, had seen enough and pulled him out of the game. He is an incredible football player, and he won the Heisman Trophy last year as a redshirt freshman, but he is such a self-congratulating idiot that he is really going to cost his team at some point.

Many talented players are afflicted with the same issues as “Johnny Football.” They psyche themselves up by making a spectacle of themselves. I hate this kind of player, and really feel that it denigrates them and their talent. I don’t necessarily think that every player has to be like Barry Sanders, handing the ball to the referee after a touchdown. I am okay with some fun on the field. Guys like Manziel, though, take it way too far and make it impossible for me to root for them. I despise the NCAA even more for making me feel like I need to defend him.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Matt Harvey, the brilliant young pitcher for the New York Mets, has a partial tear of an elbow ligament that will require surgery. The extent of the damage has not yet been determined, so it’s impossible to say how much time he will miss.

3) Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips started yelling at a reporter in his team’s clubhouse after a game on Wednesday, following it up with some more comments while team manager Dusty Baker was answering questions from the press. The reported had the temerity to to ask about Phillips’ low on-base percentage. The nerve.

4) A couple of SEC football teams started their seasons by having to suspend a bunch of players for off-the-field issues this week. The Florida Gators suspended five players for reportedly failing drug tests, while the Texas A&M Aggies suspended four for unspecified rules violations.

5) NBA free agent Lamar Odom was arrested for DUI early Friday morning in southern California. Odom has had some serious issues this offseason, and appears to be one of those guys headed for something big and not so good.

6) Doping is not just for the young, I guess. An eighty year-old weightlifter who attempted to set a record for his age group at the Pan Am Games back in June was suspended for two years this week by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after it was revealed that he tested positive for steroids.

7) The New York Post has never exactly been a bastion of journalistic integrity or intelligence, but this is pretty bad, even for them. Someone might want to tell their sports crew that the North Carolina Tarheels and the South Carolina Gamecocks are not in-state rivals.

8) I always love when this one happens. The Georgia Bulldogs lost their top receiver, Malcolm Mitchell, for the season on Saturday when he tore his ACL while celebrating a touchdown (scored by someone else, mind you).

Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
Print This Post Print This Post

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment