Asked on ESPN about the current controversy swirling around Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit said the autograph story is “either the most far-fetched story I’ve ever heard of, or he’s the dumbest player to ever play college football.”
Naturally, Herbstreit has since had to point out to the folks on Twitter that he said if Manziel sold his autograph he would be the dumbest player, etc, etc. Unfortunately, the web is already filled with people yapping that the likeable ESPN talking head called Manziel the dumbest player to ever play college football.
It’s disappointing that Herbstreit’s comment is being misquoted, because it’s a fairly accurate summary of the situation. If Manziel sold his autographs or if he had a representative ask for payment, he most certainly would be the dumbest player in college football history.
And it does seem a bit odd that Manziel “would walk into a room with these memorabilia people that he doesn’t even know and be willing to sign things and allegedly be paid,” as Herbstreit put it. In fact, he called that scenario “mind-boggling.”
While Herbstreit’s mind is boggled and Manziel’s actions are under an NCAA microscope, Dez Bryant’s temper has been lost. The Dallas Cowboys’ receiver — who was suspended for an entire season after lying to NCAA investigators about his relationship with alleged agent-helper Deion Sanders — says he’ll be ticked if Manziel isn’t punished.
“Hell, yeah, I’ll be mad,” Bryant said. “I will be mad. But I don’t want him to get suspended. I will be made more at the NCAA on how they do things. I just feel like it’s not fair. This is something I have no problem talking about because I feel like somebody needs to say something to him and let it be known how they treat people is not right.”
Bryant believes Manziel should be allowed to sell his autograph if he so desires. “He should be able to sign as many autographs and make as much money as he wants, because it’s his name. I feel like he’s the one who created it. He should be able to do whatever he feels as long as it’s legal and I don’t think there’s anything illegal about signing a picture of yourself and making money off himself.”
Bryant added: “Shoot, the NCAA is making money off of it when they’re selling those #2 shirts. Why can’t he make a little bit of money off of it?”
Well, because — as we’ve written time and again — it would create an enormous loophole in the system. If a player could sell his autograph, what would prevent an unscrupulous booster from offering $250,000 for a prospect’s signature? And if the price of autographs were capped at, say, five dollars, what would prevent the same dirty booster from buying 50,000 $5 autographs?
But that’s just our opinion. And when it comes to any and every facet of this Manziel story, everybody — from Herbstreit to Bryant — has an opinion.