If your parents have money, it stands to reason that you might have a few more shiny toys and behind-the-red-rope opportunities than the next guy. And as it turns out, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel comes from a family with plenty of cash to burn.
When the quarterback’s front-row seats to an NBA game became a national topic of conversation last December, Manziel tweeted that he’s bought himself “a little birthday present” with his own cash.
When it made national news that he was tooling around college station in a Mercedes-Benz back in March, “his folks have cash” was the quick response from Aggie fans.
Manziel’s parents do have cash and Manziel does like to spend it. Nothing unusual about that. Not every college kid has family money to blow, but they all like to spend whatever they have. Hey, I’ve been there.
Manziel’s high-profile, celebrity lifestyle has even forced A&M’s compliance staff to work overtime to make sure their star player isn’t stepping across any NCAA boundaries. In April, the Heisman-winner sounded altogether sick and tired of having to answer those compliance workers’ questions:
“They keep sending me questionnaires like, ‘How did I got to the Spurs game?’ Even though I’ve been going to Spurs games since I moved to Kerrville when I was in seventh grade. A good family friend who we’ve known since before I every thought of playing college football has a suite there. We’re going to go to the suite and we’re just gonna watch the game. I know (Spurs’ star) Tony Parker on a personal level and if I go down to say hello, I’m not doing anything wrong.
They keep sending me questionnaires asking me who’s funding the trip? Who’s doing this? Every time I respond back, ‘ME, ME and ME’ in capital letters. Hey, I don’t mean to sound rude, but this is stuff I’ve always done, and I know you’re just doing your job, but it gets to you every now and again.”
Enough so that you eventually announce you’re giving up Twitter. Only to get back on Twitter. And tweet the following this weekend:
“Bull**** like tonight is a reason why I can’t wait to leave college station…whenever it may be”
From the outside looking in, it appears that Manziel — like all those other college kids out there — has yet to learn that there’s a price for everything.
I got my first job while I was still in school. I made a whopping $17,000 that year. Yet I lived rather comfortably thanks to the magic of credit cards. Eventually, I learned that while money and credit can be thrown around for fun… there will be a price to pay at some point. Sometimes I’d blow cash on wants and not have enough to pay for my needs. Then I’d turn to the card, take care of the needs only to have to deal with an ever-growing bill at the first of the next month.
Everything comes with a price. It can be a monetary price — as I and many young kids have learned — or the price could be a loss of anonymity — as Manziel is finding out.
Not many 20-somethings get invited onto the late-night talkshow circuit, hang with sports stars at ballgames, or pal around with pop icons. Manziel gets to and, quite naturally, wants to.
But there’s a cost.
Embrace the celebrity and you’ll have to deal with the press asking questions.
Put on a temporary Texas Longhorns tattoo, have a photo of that tat blasted across Twitter, and you’ll have to answer questions from Aggie fans wondering what the hell you were thinking.
Attend a major sporting event — like, say, this year’s NBA Finals — and you’ll have to fill out a few more of those questionnaires from the TAMU compliance department.
Anyone with a cell phone camera and an internet connection now qualifies as a member of the media. So there is more media now than ever before. There’s also more scrutiny for celebrities.
But Manziel has chosen to go the celeb route. As we’ve pointed out before, the last time a second-year player won the Heisman Trophy his name was Tim Tebow and he spent his summer doing mission work, not hobnobbing with the rich and famous.
Obviously, not everyone is Tim Tebow.
Manziel has done what the majority of kids his age would do if given the opportunity to kick around with Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel and LeBron James… he’s seized it. With gusto.
In doing so, he’s invited the scrutiny that goes along with celebrity. For that reason, most of us who don’t wear maroon and white — and a few who do — are tempted to say, “He asked for it,” each time he grumbles, whines or complains about how rough his college life is.
“Aw, poor baby drives a Benz, takes a ton of classes online to avoid dealing with the little people, gets front-row seats to any game he wants and yet I’m supposed to feel sorry for him?”
Makes sense. But as tempted as I am to go down that road — and I’m very tempted — I’ve instead come to that other conclusion. The one that says Manziel is a 20-something who hasn’t yet learned that everything comes with a price.
Manziel’s Benz cost cash.
All those tickets to games cost cash.
But a high-profile life of fame costs a person his anonymity. Manziel hasn’t realized that yet. So here’s to cutting him a just hair of slack on his complaints and his obscene tweet.
But the longer he goes without realizing that it’s his choices that are leading to the consequences he doesn’t like, the more likely I am to join the chorus of folks who now view Johnny Football as a spoiled brat.