Tag Archives: Johnny Manziel

Manziel vows sobriety … just do it, young man


“Johnny Football” Manziel has told TMZ he’s going to be “completely sober” by July 1.

That’s tomorrow.

I want to offer the young man a bit of unsolicited advice.

“Tomorrow” never comes when you place a deadline such as that on yourself.

The one-time Texas A&M University football great and former Heisman Trophy winner has been on a horrendous spiral that has ruined his professional football career.

Worse, it is ruining his life.

I am pulling hard for Manziel to pull his head out of whichever body cavity he has inserted it. I want him to succeed in life. Whether he’s able to regain his athletic form would be an added plus.

However, allow me this one final bit of advice.

I once smoked cigarettes like a freight train. Two-plus packs a day, man. How did I quit the weeds? I wadded them up and tossed them into the garbage.

I quit cold turkey … on the spot. That was more than 36 years ago.

I didn’t wait for “tomorrow.”

One does not put such artificial deadlines on ending bad behavior.

If the young athlete intends to sober up, he’d better just act immediately on his intentions and not wait for the sun to rise the next day.

Too many celebrities have learned in the worst way possible that the sun might not shine.

Character seems to matter more

OK, one more comment about the Heisman Trophy presentation and I’ll be done.

I’ve been reading since Saturday night’s ceremony honoring University of Oregon All-Universe quarterback Marcus Mariota about the young man’s character.

It is exemplary. And it is made even more so in light of three of the past four Heisman Trophy winners’ own character.


College football needed someone like Mariota to win the Heisman Trophy.

His athletic exploits are — to borrow a term he’s used in recent days to describe his Heisman experience — utterly “surreal.” Football experts and casual fans of the game understand what he’s done on the field.

It’s the off-the-field stuff he does and things he does when no one’s looking that seems to matter more.

Auburn’s Cam Newton won the honor in 2010 amid a recruiting scandal; Johnny “Football” Manziel at Texas A&M won the honor two years later and has behaved in a less-than-gentlemanly manner all too often; Florida State’s Jameis Winston has those sexual abuse charges hanging over his head. In the middle of that Heisman sequence is Baylor’s Robert Griffin III, another fine young man.

Marcus Mariota? Well, he got a ticket for speeding several weeks ago. He paid the fine and apologized for messing up.

In truth, the other two finalists for the Heisman — Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon and Alabama receiver Amari Cooper — also fit the Boy Scout mode. Everyone’s a winner, as the presenter said immediately before announcing Marcus Mariota’s name.

I’m obviously glad for Mariota. I’m proud that a football program from my home state of Oregon can boast about one of its athletes’ high honor. I also am glad for college football, which has awarded its best-player-in-the-country trophy to a young man who’s a role model — and is proud of it.



College student-athletes may unionize

College athletic tradition has just taken a serious — and potentially devastating — punch in the gut.

Call me a fuddy-duddy. That’s OK. I’ll admit to being such where it regards college athletics. A ruling out of Chicago is potentially quite disturbing — to me, at least.

A National Labor Relations Board hearings officer has ruled that Northwestern University student-athletes are employees of the school and therefore should be allowed to form a union if they so desire.


This might open the door eventually to paying student-athletes real money — above board and over the table, instead of under it … allegedly — to play college sports.

Let’s not overstate the immediate impact of this NLRB decision. It’s only a highly preliminary action. The full NLRB board must consider it. The full board might think differently. If it does, you can rest assured the student-athletes who have sued for the right to unionize will appeal it to the federal judicial system. If the NLRB upholds this decision, then look for colleges and universities to file a counter-claim that also will wind its way through the court system.

I get all the arguments in favor of allowing unionization for student-athletes. They do make money for the school they are attending. Did Heisman Trophy winner Johnny “Football” Manziel bring a few extra fans to Kyle Stadium when he played for Texas A&M University? You bet he did.

He also was getting a fully paid college education in the process. His football talent enabled him to win a full-ride scholarship to one of the better schools in the world. Sure, I get that he well might not have taken his classroom obligation as seriously as his football obligation. He wouldn’t be the first student-athlete to, um, forget to crack the textbook while burning the midnight oil studying the playbook.

Manziel is just one example out of many hundreds across the country.

This decision well could change fundamentally the way we view college athletics and those who participate in them.

It makes me seriously uncomfortable to think that these young men and women could well become professionals before they turn pro.

Emphatic ‘no!’ on paying college athletes

I saw a Time magazine cover yesterday at work, with a picture of Johnny “Football” Manziel on its cover and a headline that says it’s time to pay college athletes.

I don’t need to read the article thoroughly to know I’ll disagree with it. Its premise is wrong on its face — in my humble view.

Manziel, of course, is the Texas A&M University Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who endured a half-game suspension as his “punishment” for getting paid for autographs he signed. Manziel has become the poster boy for this ridiculous assertion that college athletes need to be paid for their services.

What utter nonsense.

They get paid already. Handsomely, too. The payment comes in the form of a free college education. Manziel is a blue-chip athlete who received a full-ride scholarship to Texas A&M. Did he get that scholarship because of his academic prowess? No. He’s being paid for his football skills, which put more than 80,000 people in the seats at Kyle Field and fills other stadiums to capacity wherever else the Aggies play football on any given Saturday.

How much would Johnny Football be paying if he wasn’t compensated? He’s pay about $8,000 annually in tuition and another $8,000 per year for room and board. I haven’t even calculated the cost of books, lab fees and other ancillary expenses that go with getting a college education.

Manziel gets paid. So do any of the scholarship athletes who compete in any college in the nation.

Pay these people? You must be kidding.

I remain wedded to the notion that student-athletes should have to toe the line. They should go to school, crack the books, study hard, work with tutors to help them get through those periods when they’re away from school participating in athletic events — and then play their guts out when the whistle sounds to start the game.

Mr. Football and his fellow scholarship athletes do not need more payment for demonstrating their athletic prowess.

Hilarious ‘punishment’ for Johnny Football

I laughed out loud a little while ago when I heard the news: Johnny “Football” Manziel will be suspended for the first half of Texas A&M’s game with Rice for breaking a rule prohibiting players from getting paid for autographs.

Why even have any punishment if that’s all he’s going to get?


Manziel won the Heisman Trophy this past season as a freshman. He’s been a sensation at College Station. Manziel may be one of the exciting football players in the past half-century.

But then he got ahead of himself, apparently, when he signed autographs and reportedly got paid for his signature. The allegations have prompted debate over whether college athletes should be paid. My view? The free college education that blue-chip athletes get at these schools is payment enough, thank you very much.

My thought was that Johnny Football would get much more of a punishment than he got. Maybe half a season. But half a game?

The NCAA enforcers cannot possibly be serious.

Johnny Football fumbles at key moment

My old friend Tom Taschinger has it exactly correct.

Writing for the Beaumont Enterprise, Taschinger takes dead aim at Johnny “Football” Manziel’s troubles stemming from an autograph signing debacle that well could effectively cost him the rest of his college football career.


The NCAA is looking into whether Manziel took money for signing the autographs. This is not a difficult case to prove or disprove. Either he took the dough or he didn’t. If he did, then Johnny Football is facing a possible season-long suspension by the NCAA.

Can there be any clearer message for the young quarterback, the first freshman in NCAA history to win the Heisman Trophy, that he isn’t supposed to take money for signing his name? If he did, the young Texas A&M quarterback has messed up royally.

Taschinger wrote this: “Manziel apparently signed autographs for memorabilia dealers — dealers! — in six separate sessions last season. We’re talking hours-long sessions and thousands of items. Big money even was said to have changed hands.

“Folks, that’s not a borderline violation. It’s as blatant as a quarterback being leveled by a defender five seconds after releasing the ball. You have to wonder what Johnny Football was thinking while he was grinding out those signatures — and why his parents or a coach didn’t step in and save him.”

I don’t want this story to pan out. It’s looking as though it will. There will be an accounting made of who paid Manziel the money if that’s what comes to pass. If it does, I fear the cheering at Kyle Field this season is going to be a bit muted without Johnny Football taking the snaps.

He would have no one else in the entire world to blame but himself.

College athletes already are ‘paid’

Today’s question: Should the NCAA allow college athletes to get paid while they are in school?

Not even close. No … as in “hell no!”

The Beaumont Enterprise, where I used to work as editorial page editor, has this interesting feature in which it poses a question and then offers competing points of view. This week, the paper addressed the issue of paying college athletes.


I’m an old-fashioned guy when it comes to sports. Heck, I don’t even like the designated hitter rule, artificial turf, domed stadiums, or all the commercial signage pro golfers and race car drivers have to wear.

Thus, I believe college athletes have no compelling need to actually get paid for playing football and basketball, the two money-making sports for virtually all colleges and universities in America.

The question comes up in the wake of the Johnny “Football” Manziel matter involving whether he got paid for signing autographs while playing Heisman Trophy-winning football for Texas A&M University.

My take on it is this: Manziel already is getting paid by virtue of his receiving a fully funded college education. He, along with all blue-chip athletes, go to college with all their schoolwork paid for by scholarships, funded usually by huge endowments paid by big-time contributors. Texas A&M is among the richest universities on the planet, endowment-wise.

I prefer to see these young athletes also perform as students in the classroom, without the perk of capitalizing on their athletic skills through payoffs handed to them under the table.

I cannot predict what the NCAA will rule in the Manziel case. From my perch, it doesn’t look good for Johnny Football.

As for paying college athletes? A free college education is payment enough.

Now it’s Johnny Football?

Is there no end to the chuckleheaded behavior of noted American athletes?

New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez has been suspended by big league baseball, along with a dozen other players over allegations they took performance-enhancing drugs.

Now it’s Johnny Manziel, the Texas A&M University Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback who’s under investigation for taking money for signing autographs.


The Aggies have opened their football camp and are thought to be among the top five college football teams in the country. Manziel, aka Johnny Football, is a big reason why A&M is riding so high.

Now, though, the NCAA is said to be investigating whether Johnny Football broke one of the singularly rules of college football. Somewhere in the NCAA handbook it says athletes can’t take money for anything. The blue-chip athletes get a free college education in exchange for applying their athletic skill. Therefore, taking money – or trading on their famous name – is forbidden expressly by the rules.

Did Johnny Manziel take money or didn’t he for taking part in an autograph-signing session?

I sincerely hope the young man didn’t do it. However, I cannot help but think of the old saying about finding fire under all that smoke.