Yesterday news broke that Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel will be suspended for one half in the Texas A&M; Aggies season opener against Rice for his role in the autograph scandal. The NCAA did come out and say that there is no evidence that Manziel was paid for his autographs, but rather that there were “inadvertent violations.”
But after numerous off-field incidents that include underage drinking, leaving the Manning Passing Academy early and now the being paid for autographs scandal, it’s time that the Texas A&M; Aggies suspended Manziel for longer than just one half.
Manziel, the son of wealthy oil tycoons Michelle and Paul Manziel, has acted like a spoiled brat since becoming the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy. His actions have brought tons of unnecessary negative attention to a team that is ranked No. 7 in the AP Poll and trying to vie for an SEC title.
First in January, shortly after winning the 2012 Cotton Bowl over the Oklahoma Sooners, Manziel was spotted by TMZ in possession of champagne bottles, which of course is a crime. Then in March it was reported that Manziel assaulted a Texas A&M; graduate assistant coach after throwing an interception during a workout.
Then during the NCAA Tournament, he tweeted out a supportive tweet to Marshall Henderson, who was later suspended for drug violations and has a long history with drug abuse.
Shoving staff members and supporting drug users isn’t exactly the model personality a quarterback of Manziel’s magnitude should be following.
But the list continues.
In June he again took to Twitter to criticize College Station, the city that Texas A&M; is located in. He said he was angry about a parking ticket and proceeded to whine by saying he can’t wait to leave the town and team that has made him famous.
His tweet was, “(Expletive) like tonight is a reason why I can’t wait to leave College Station…whenever it may be.”
Later, Manziel left the Manning Passing Academy early after missing scheduled meetings. He said he simply overslept, but rumors of being hungover were rampant as the story broke.
Regardless of whether or not Manziel was or was not hungover at the Manning Academy, the fact that those rumors even came about indicates that he has the image of a heavy partier. And as the old saying goes, “Wherever there’s smoke, there’s fire.”
Then, in the weeks leading up to the start of the Aggies’ fall camp, he was seen via photos on Twitter underage drinking at fraternity parties at the University of Texas.
Finally, the bombshell accusations dropped just one day prior to the start of practice in College Station. ESPN reported that Manziel had been paid five figures to sign memorabilia during his trip to Miami, Fla. for the BCS National Championship.
Recently Manziel was interviewed by the NCAA for six hours regarding his involvement in the autograph scandal, where he reportedly denied all accusations against him.
The laundry list of off-field drama for Manziel is simply too much to go unpunished for at this point. He’s broken the law by underage drinking, he left an elite passing academy for reasons virtually unknown at this point and he’s bashed the town and community that’s done nothing but adore him.
Texas A&M; head coach Kevin Sumlin absolutely has to suspend his quarterback, regardless of the impact on the team’s win-loss record. Manziel should be suspended for one game for each of his actions. So two games for the two alcohol-related incidents, one game for shoving a graduate assistant, one game for the tweets bashing College Station and one game for the Manning Passing Academy incident. That’s five games in total, nearly half the team’s schedule.
But there are other reasons the Aggies should suspend Manziel. If they withhold the quarterback from games now, that might be enough of a preemptive move to prevent harsher penalties from the NCAA should they discover that Manziel did in fact get paid for autographs.
Secondly, according to a story by Wright Thompson of ESPN, Manziel has recently sought out therapy for alcohol and anger issues. So a break from football could be necessary to help Manziel get his mind right before something worse happens.
Ultimately, Manziel is responsible for his own actions. He’s an adult and his team and coach must hold the superstar accountable for acting like a petty child.