By now you’ve seen the highlight. Johnny Manziel throws a touchdown pass. He taunts Rice players for (at least) a third time (Aggie fans on this site have said poor Johnny Football was simply responding to trash-talking Rice players so it’s really their fault). He draws an immediate flag for unsportsmanlike conduct, costing his team 15 yards. He walks to the sideline. Head coach Kevin Sumlin says something to him. Manziel keeps walking and never looks at his coach. In fact, he actually bumps him out of the way and never turns his head back to Sumlin to apologize or acknowledge what his coach is saying.
If any player in the SEC did that to his coach, you would read about it here on MrSEC.com because it’s not something often seen. Quick, name the number of times you’ve seen a player breeze by a coach who’s talking to him, bump him, and keep walking. Exactly. So spare us all the “high-tech lynching” and “ESPN narrative” bull. It was an unusual act and such an act would get attention regardless of the player.
Well, now some of the A&M faithful — you gotta admire their total and complete devotion to Johnny Football — have emailed a hundred links to Sumlin’s Tuesday press conference to the MrSEC.com offices. Guess what Sumlin said. He said that the media made too much of the act:
“When he came off the field, basically I made two statements to him, neither one of which should he have responded to. They weren’t questions. They were direct statements that I can’t repeat right now. So what’s amazing to me is the perception that he ignored me. The worst thing that could have happened was for him to reply, based on what I told him.”
And here I expected him to say, “Yeah, he ignored me and I have no control of the team.”
Ridiculously, a few Texas A&M fans are buying this load of crap and once again ignoring the big picture. Did anyone suggest that Manziel should have talked back to Sumlin? I don’t believe so. The problem was that Manziel never stopped to listen and he didn’t even give so much as a “Yes, sir.”
Hmmm. Ya think A&M cadets can just breeze my their officers — or bump them — without a “Yes, sir” as Manziel did? Here’s guessing not. Apparently all that “military discipline” stuff Aggie fans like to trumpet doesn’t apply to their football team.
If you were making a point to your son or daughter, would you want them to stop and listen to you? Or would you be okey-dokey with them marching by you without ever turning their head? You can be sure Sumlin wasn’t happy with Manziel’s response regardless of what he’s having to sell to the media.
Sumlin can’t be shown up by Manziel in front of his team. He doesn’t want other players following Manziel’s lead. So, of course, he said the player didn’t ignore him while also twisting the situation to suggest that Manziel actually showed him respect by not responding. Responding? How ’bout listening? How ’bout not bumping?
Once again, Sumlin is trying to avoid looking weak in light of his quarterback’s actions. As we’ve pointed out before, this is a coach who hinted multiple times at SEC Media Days that he’d told Manziel to back off from Twitter. Manziel responded to like questions by saying, “Maybe I haven’t had anything to say.” And then he began tweeting again that very night.
Those Texas A&M fans who are, oh, so delusional about Manziel won’t see that. They’ve been brainwashed. Hell, one of them compared this writer to Joseph Goebbels yesterday. Yeah, ESPN is blowing the Manziel thing out of proportion, but the deeds of this website are comparable to those of a Nazi. Got it.
No, the Cult of Johnny crowd still see a player who can do no wrong. Had Manziel walked to the sideline Saturday and cold-cocked Sumlin, a portion of the A&M fanbase would have loudly stated that the coach must have deserved it.
As for the “ESPN narrative” that we keep reading about — that’s got to be a messageboard thing because half the angry emails we get refer to it — it’s more than ESPN. Some of those in maroon and white are trying to act as though it’s one network that’s out to get Texas A&M. It’s more than just ESPN who’s calling Manziel’s repeated actions out of line. It’s CBS Sports and The Sporting News. It’s Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports. It’s Yahoo! Sports and SEC-centric sites like this one. Manziel acts like a spoiled brat. He allowed a writer into his life and it became clear that, despite being a likable guy, he is indeed a spoiled brat. Everyone sees that. Not just ESPN.
The folks all alone on the island are those A&M fans — and it’s certainly not all Aggie fans, mind you — who blindly support Manziel regardless of how many suspensions, penalties and benchings he receives. It’s not the world view versus ESPN’s view. It’s every damn body’s view versus your view.
We end just about every Manziel piece the same way: Here’s hoping all the future Johnny Football talk revolves around his playing ability. No more. Oh, it’d be nice to see the kid grow up. It would be good to see him act like a young adult rather than a tempestuous child. It would be great if we could someday talk about him as a hall of fame player rather than as a “rebel” who’s attitude overshadowed his achievements (a la Ryan Leaf, Brian Bosworth, Todd Marinovich, etc). For Manziel’s sake, that the hope.
But for those in the A&M faithful who defend their QB no matter what, well, let’s just say it’d be fun to see their response if/when Manziel’s antics cost him playing time or cost his team a victory. There are a lot of people who would like to see Johnny Football deflated. To the point that an old (and paraphrased) line from the film “Ben Hur” comes to mind: “I tell you, the day Manziel falls, there will be a shout of freedom such as the world has never heard before.”
Now why is it that so many have turned against this kid? The “ESPN narrative?” Try the player’s own actions off — and now on — the field.
But what do I know? I’m just a Nazi for daring to write that Manziel occasionally behaves boorishly.
Funny, it seems to me that if there’s a group of people brainwashed by one man in this case… it ain’t the media.