For collegiate football star Jonathan “Johnny” Manziel, winning the Heisman trophy at a young age left him unable to find a balance between being a “normal” 20 year old and the fame of being a future professional football star. The struggle has left “Johnny Football” stumbling, sometimes drunkenly, through the spotlight.
Manziel is the only freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy which has created an unexpected avalanche of attention and, theoretical, success that is being clearly mishandled.
With success comes entitlement, or in Manziels case: false entitlement. The Texas A&M quarterback reportedly went to a rival teams fraternity party at University of Texas wearing a Tim Tebow jersey.
Tim Tebow won the Heisman as a sophomore while at Florida University in 2007.
In addition to this he has also gotten arrested for disorderly conduct and signing autographs for money, which is illegal as an amateur athlete.
The prima donna proved to everyone the opinion he has of himself and the lack of respect he has towards the rest of the world. In an interview with Wright Thompson of ESPN, Johnny’s father Paul Manziel revealed, “[his career] could come unraveled, and when it does it’s gonna be bad. Real bad.”
Thompson said of Manziel’s upbringing, “They are a wealthy family… he has basically virtually an unlimited supply of money to use in his search of his own entertainment.”
On multiple occasions, Manziel has shown that he is taking full advantage of the celebrity lifestyle without taking the full responsibility that comes with it.
Alcohol seems to be Manziel’s substance of choice when deciding how he would like to ruin his potential. The underage football star was caught with two fake IDs and has posted multiple pictures on his Twitter and Instagram account out at clubs or bars, drink in hand. His coach suggested he see an alcohol counselor whom he only saw twice.
Just earlier this summer Manziel slept through a training camp for young athletes hosted by Payton Manning. This reflects poorly on his lack of commitment and seriousness he is putting toward his time playing football. He reportedly stated that the team was socializing the night before and would not answer any questions about drinking or alcohol.
“I’m still a sophomore in college. I’m still going to do things that everybody in college does, and I’m going to continue to enjoy my life,” Manziel explained. “Hopefully, people don’t hold me to a higher standard than that.”
Manziel is at an age where fame was thrust upon him after simply doing something that he loved and playing a sport that he was clearly good at playing. Paul Manziel stated, “He still needs love. He still needs guidance. He still needs to see he’s wrong — and how to control his temper.”
It is clear he is struggling with how to deal with the fame and success. In doing so, the Johnny Football fame-hungry alter ego has taken over and the self-destruction has begun.
“The combination of these outside pressures with his own immaturity create the potential for a very public melt down,” stated Thompson.
Manziel needs to grow up or risk losing his future in the NFL. He needs to deal face to face with who he is, what he represents and the responsibility that comes with it.