August 8th, 2013 10:28 AM║ Posted By: John Pennington ║ Permalink
║ Schools: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt
Tags: ESPN, NCAA, SEC, Team Manziel
Yesterday, South Carolina and its star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney were pulled into the Johnny Manziel autograph saga. A number of websites — including the prominent Texas A&M fan site, GoodBullHunting.com — began reporting that Clowney had a hundreds of consecutively-numbered autographs available on the internet. Predictably, more players and more autographs were soon targeted.
When I called out Texas A&M fans for using the rather childish and finkish “Well, he did it, too” defense, I was quickly told that those people asking questions about Clowney were actually exposing the inconsistency of both the NCAA and ESPN.
Uh, no they’re not.
Texas A&M’s Manziel made news on ESPN because that network’s reporters had learned that the Heisman-winner was under investigation by the NCAA. Clowney and others — to our knowledge — are not under NCAA scrutiny. There’s no double-standard there from ESPN. Manziel is under investigation. Other players are not. Pretty big difference right there.
“Ah, so what about the NCAA’s double-standard, then?”
ESPN has found multiple people who’ve claimed that either a) they paid Team Manziel for autographs or b) they were asked to pay Team Manziel for autographs. If ESPN heard enough rumors to track down some of the autograph brokers in question, you can be sure that the NCAA had heard enough about Manziel and cash transactions to start sniffing around. In fact, ESPN has stated that the dealers they’ve spoken to have already been contacted by the NCAA, though they’ve apparently decided not to play snitch. In other words, the NCAA was after these brokers before ESPN tracked them down.
Again, that’s not a double-standard. Manziel was reportedly paid — or his main handler asked for payment — while there have been no claims that Clowney or others were paid… much less paid five figures. That, too, is a pretty big difference between the cases.
Texas A&M fans are feeling what all fanbases feel when the NCAA or ESPN start snooping around their team. They feel as though the world is unfairly out to get them because everybody hates them.
That’s a completely natural feeling when bad things could befall you. It’s also completely ridiculous.
ESPN is not out to get Manziel. They covered his football exploits ad nauseum last season. Heisman voters saw all that coverage. The network helped build him into a star. (Though he took things the rest of the way by living a jetsetter’s lifestyle and tweeting back reports to a growing band of gawkers.)
Now that he’s become a superstar, Manziel’s every move makes news. Does anyone really believe that any other Heisman-winner’s early departure from the Manning Passing Academy wouldn’t have been covered? Anyone believe that some other Heisman-winner wouldn’t have had it mentioned when he tweeted that he wanted out of his college town?
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