Johnny Football, Don't Become Kanye
"I’m not a celebrity … I don’t know if you know there’s one thing about me, but I’m a terrible, terrible celebrity." -Kanye WestJohnny Manziel should just say the same thing. But he can't. He's hooked. To the fame. To the potential fortune. To everything besides football it seems.
Both in the news this week, Johnny Manziel and Kanye West, who have more parallels than they ever should, have truly transformed into these brutal monsters with fame. Both have a rap sheet, and no I do not mean rap music. Both have reached the pinnacle of their sport. Both have a knack for turning their fans away. Do they not want us to root for them anymore? Johnny Football definitely wouldn't mind that.
The freshman legend of Johnny Manziel grew larger as October moved towards it close. Following his 42-point rout of Auburn, the Texas A&M quarterback had already accounted for 29 of 47 touchdowns with outrageous box scores and unreal glides past his defenders. Then, Halloween came and the nation's hottest player coasted through College Station dressed as America's favorite detective dog, Scooby Doo. I remember my reaction: "OK, here's a kid that knows how to have some fun, but still get it done on field." There was no difference between these antics and what an NFL player does. The Twitter world met these pictures with humor and it was back to the gridiron. America already knew that Johnny Football had been arrested the year prior for a little scuffle in College Station, but that blew over. Two weeks later, Manziel and the Aggies traveled to Tuscaloosa, where the dual-threat freshman QB knocked off the Crimson Tide, who would go on to win the BCS National Championship Game. The Heisman Moment. Who would've known where this moment would take him?
September 13, 2009. Taylor Swift wins at the VMAs. That was when things changed for Kanye West. And he hasn't been the same since. His new album, "Yeezus", releasing Tuesday, reveals the darker world West has spiraled into over the past four years. The quality of "play" for the rapper that considers himself "the Michael Jordan of rap" has steadily declined since that New York City night. Steadily declined to the point that on his new album is a song called "I Am A God". Yes, arrogance has transformed him into a deity.
Same city. December 8, 2012. Manziel took home the prestigious Heisman Trophy, becoming the first freshman to do so. Now, the recent underclassmen winners that have returned to school never had the same experiences after the award that Manziel had. Tim Tebow went back to school and cried a bunch. Sam Bradford got injured. And Mark Ingram had a worse season the year after he took home college football's gold medal. But then there is Manziel. Within two weeks, Manziel converted positions from star scrambler to scrutinized celebrity. Courtside seats, locker room passes, and Instagram's with James Harden. Not the typical birthday present for a freshman, which of course presented the illegal benefits issue with Manziel. Nothing has been proved that Johnny Football has ever taken money, but he has most definitely taken some ego boost bills. And to quote Kanye West, Manziel definitely has "a big ego."
The 2013 story of Johnny Manziel has become a legend of gambling, booze, partying, and tabloids. January came and presented TMZ photos of Manziel with Don Perignon. Then ridiculous Mardi Gras photos of the 20 year old. His Twitter feed revealed the dark and pompous side of the quarterback. He had already said that fame had frustrated him to the point that he had to take online classes for the semester. Was it the constant being chased around or was it that he preferred hanging out with Drake than being at school? Social media has been a nightmare for Manziel. He has had run-ins with fans on Twitter. He has had pictures of him making out with girls that are not his swimsuit model girlfriend on Instagram. And YouTube has made him look like a fool. Who would've thought a quarterback couldn't throw a baseball? At all.
If Manziel fails this season, you can count on the fans blaming it on the partyboy image he has developed for himself. To play Devil's Advocate, he never asked for this. The fame hit him and he was vulnerable to the perks that came with it. Like he tweeted, "Please please walk a day in my shoes." Anyone with this much going for him would jump into those shoes, lie low, and make good decisions. Try to keep the reputation as squeaky clean as possible so the arrest never comes up again. But instead, he has thrown it away. Any athlete that takes out frustrations on innocent fans has no business expecting millions to root for him. And it is too bad that when you search his name, TMZ and ESPN posts about his antics come up before his statistics do. But I am sure that many that would normally be rooting for a repeat Heisman winner, will have a tough time rooting for him this season. He probably has run into Tiger Woods at one of his parties, who would be able to tell him that America forgives one's mishaps...as long as they succeed. You take a page from Kanye and you'll see that if you get worse as the antics grow on, they'll turn on you. Turn on you just as quick as you can run the 40.