For Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, controversy, questions, and Twitter pictures that hint at answers find the young Texas Aggie football legend in the middle of yet more maelstrom. On July 14, 2013 media outlet Fox Sports Southwest noted Sunday, “the off-field legend of Johnny Manziel continues to grow with allegations the Texas A&M star was kicked out out of the Manning Passing Academy for partying too hard even as camp officials are adamant those reports are inaccuate.”
Can’t a kid just get sick and leave his camp counselor position early without rumors abounding? Maybe if you’re anyone but Johnny Manziel. Just two days ago, local media KBTX-TV sportscaster John Wilson had dubbed the young hero “Johnny Counselor,” as yet one more moniker to add to the glowing terms of endearment affixed to young Manziel as he continues to fascinate the world of Texas Aggies and, it seems, media everywhere. So, why did he leave his job as camp counselor a day early?
One very realistic scenario is offered: Johnny leaves Manning camp with illness, as reported by web site www.nfl.com:
“A camp spokesman confirmed the Heisman Trophy-winning Texas A&M quarterback known as Johnny Football left the camp early after an unspecified illness caused Manziel to miss assigned meetings and practice sessions. The annual passing academy is hosted by Peyton Manning and Eli Manning.”
The story continued with a tweet from Johnny’s dad (texting, not Tweeting):
“UPDATE: Manziel’s father, Paul, told The Dallas Morning News via text that Manziel is at home “resting and recuperating from dehydration.”
The other scenario, though, includes two photographs from the related story on the Fox Sports Southwest web site: the first is Reagan Langford’s Twitter post, complete with picture, posted 2:08 am 12 July 2013:
“@10AJMcCarron and @JManziel2 with their favorite Bubbas bartenders ? #manningcamp pic.twitter.com/JAbaib92jH”
Doing the math, it was a late night, Thursday night into Friday morning, timestamps being what they are. Speaking of, although Twitter posts can indeed be considered speculative, dubious, fabricated or called into question for accuracy, the Fox Sports Southwest story continued with a photo of a Twitter post by Clare Marshall (sic),
“johhny manziel was just standing behind me at northgate #nightmade #johnnyfootball
1:08 AM – 14 Jul 2013”
On June 16, less than one month ago, the Dallas Morning News reported that Johnny Manziel had tweeted that “he couldn’t wait to leave College Station,” after reportedly receiving a parking ticket. The young man blew off steam, like any other Aggie, but he did it on Twitter. Perhaps when cooler heads prevailed, young Manziel withdrew the Twitter post, but fans had saved photos of the posting (easy to do on the iPhone). Then the “fans” shared it with the media, and it was back “off to the races” for publicity damage control.
Coverage of this latest controversy couldn’t come at a better time, as far as Texas A&M University media relations is concerned. Just two days ago, Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, the top campus leader announced his plan to “step down” as Texas A&M President in January, 2014, and statewide media were overloaded with questions, and speculation abounded as to the early departure, which Loften said “he would explain more and answer questions next week.”
Chances are better than good that no media will be available to “quiz the prez,” as SEC Media Days begin on Wednesday in Birmingham. The young Heisman winner is expected to be in attendance at that event, so, those questions for Dr. Loftin are likely going to have to wait a little longer. Once again, Texas Aggie football trumps academics: every single time. No one seemingly cares why Loftin leaves early; no, it’s all about why Johnny left passing camp early.
CBS Sports reported that Peyton Manning told ESPN.com “he enjoyed meeting Johnny” and that he wants Manziel to “come back next year.” It’s all good, right?
Whether or not Johnny Manziel left passing camp of his own accord to rest up for SEC Media Days or whether the legendary Manning family encouraged the young man to go home and “set a spell” will be bandied about for at least 48 hours more. And then something else will pop up. It always does. According to the 2013 College Football Countdown Clock, there’s only 45 more days until NCAA Football begins. Bill Engvall says, “Here’s your sign.” With apologies to Bill, “Here’s your song:” Go, Johnny, Go, and Johnny, be good.