September 3rd, 2013 10:15 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: Bad Johnny, Good Johnny, Johnny Football, Johnny Manziel
This morning I’ve received a number of emails from Texas A&M fans. Most have been polite. One not so much. (Up yours, fella!) But they all included a link to what’s being called “The Johnny We Know” Project. (A suggestion was likely made on a messageboard to bombard the evil media with project’s web address.)
“The Johnny We Know” Project is a site with a very specific mission:
“These pages are created to present a face to Texas A&M’s Heisman winning quarterback that some other outlets may not deem profitable. Johnny Manziel is certainly young, has his ‘moments of weakness’ and acts impulsively, perhaps selfishly, at times. However, he’s also an amazing young man, always has time to pose for a picture with a young fan or to visit a pediatric cancer unit. Those visors he wears on the sideline invariably end up in the hands of an eager kid after each home game.
This is how we, his supporters through thick and thin, know Johnny Manziel.”
No one ever said Manziel is incapable of signing an autograph for a kid (for free), or of handing over his visor to a fan, or of — as most college athletes do — visiting the patients in a local hospital. Most college athletes do those types of things. As a Heisman-winner, Manziel has likely done more. Good for him. That’s not meant in a snarky way, either. Literally. Good. For. Him.
But while the positive side of Johnny Football is being celebrated at TJWK Project website — a site loaded with photos of a smiling, child-befriending Manziel — there’s an obvious admission that the Texas A&M fans behind the project choose to ignore the other side of their quarterback’s personality. That photo of him with a sparkler in his mouth and a bottle of champagne in his hand is nowhere to be found. While a story of him rescuing a kitten – yes, really — is featured prominently, there’s no mention of him breezing (and bumping) past his head coach after drawing a taunting penalty on Saturday.
And there’s sure no allusion to the QB’s infamous “I can’t wait to leave college station” tweet.
Look, I get it. Aggie fans want everyone to know that there’s more to Manziel than the showboating, coach-ignoring, golf club-tossing guy presented so often in the media. “If they only show that side, we’ll only show this side.” Got it.
But there’s a problem with that. Manziel’s many good deeds don’t get coverage for two reasons: One, no one cares (sad, but true) and two, college athletes are expected to be nice to children, visit cancer wards and sign autographs (for free). All that other stuff that Manziel does? The cocky behavior, the jet-setting, the kerfuffle at the Manning Passing Academy… that’s stuff that’s not expected of a college player, much less a Heisman Trophy-winner. And fair or not, the unexpected is what’s going to get the majority of national coverage.
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