Johnny “Football”-Don’t sign your life away

Updated: August 15, 2013

NORTH CAROLINA-(BASN)-College Football is at another crossroad.

This time, they are faced with the difficult decision to penalize their new poster child…Johnny Manziel aka Johnny Football, who walks the tightrope act of being the modern-day James Dean, due to his off-the field actions, which could sabotage his chance to win another Heisman Trophy this year.

Manziel is like the Eminem of college football.

Why? Because, he is hip, exciting, and flashy.

Matter of fact, he is everything Tim Tebow is not.

But, this same flamboyancy, that Johnny Football displays on the field, maybe his eventual down fall, especially with the allegation of him autographing sports memorabilia for cash.

And even though, he has attracted a cult-like following, the evidence against him is building up, as the NCAA continues to search for a money trail to confirm his guilt.

On one hand, defenders of Manziel, say he was only marketing himself and building his own brand, while capitalizing off his new found celebrity status.

It’s the American way, right?

Others, however, think Manziel is simply a sub-par college quarterback, who broke the rules for his own personal gain.

Signing my name

According to ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” Manziel may have had six autograph sessions with at least three brokers, in three states, in less than a month, in which he could have signed his name more than 4,400 times on memorabilia for cash.

With that evidence, the NCAA, is now investigating whether any of those autographs violated NCAA by-laws.

If the NCAA finds that Manziel violated Bylaw of accepting money for promoting or advertising the commercial sale of a product or service — he could be ruled ineligible this season.

Even without proof of Manziel handling cash, the NCAA could also find him guilty of violating NCAA Bylaw,  which requires a student-athlete to make every effort to stop the sale of products featuring his or her likeness.

Who knew there were so many rules in place just to play college football?

And, who really thinks that these young kids, straight out of high school have read and understood these laws.

Doubleplay and two-timing

Unlike Auburn’s Cam Newton, who in 2010 avoided punishment for the pay for play scandal, Manziel’s autograph signing for cash, is seen by many to be a revolutionary act that may force the NCAA to change its rules about student-athletes having the ability to earn an income while playing collegiate sports.

Despite Manizel’s perceived revolutionary act, it definitely would be considered a double standard, if he somehow is able to side-step punishment, especially after Ohio State’s QB  Terrelle Pryor, currently playing for the Oakland Raiders, received such harsh criticism and punishment for receiving cash and tattoos for signing sports memorabilia in 2010, which led to a five game suspension, Ohio State vacating the wins from its 12-1 season along with its Big Ten and Sugar Bowl championships,  with a two year probation added on, which  is still in effect today.

Former Oklahoma Sooners Dez Bryant, now with the Dallas Cowboys, who while at Oklahoma State in 2009, was suspended for the last 10 games of his collegiate career for lying to NCAA authorities regarding a meal that he had with Hall of Fame icon Deion Sanders, which possibly ruined his opportunity to win the Heisman Trophy as well as effecting his draft status in the NFL, told ESPN that he doesn’t want Manziel to get suspended and feels college athletes should be allowed to make money on endorsements and autograph signings.

“[Manziel] should be able to sign as many autographs and make as much money as he wants, because it’s his name. He’s the one who created it. He should be able to do whatever he feels, as long as it’s legal, and I don’t think anything is illegal about signing your name on a picture of yourself, making money off yourself.

Justice for all

Despite Bryant’s support for Manziel, what he did was illegal according to the laws established by NCAA. And, if Bryant got a 10 game suspension for lying about having dinner with Deion Sanders, Johnny “Football’s” sophomore season should be over for cashing in on his own signature.

Point blank.

Justice for one, is justice for all.

There shouldn’t be any exceptions to the rules.

Honestly, if the NCAA sits Johnny Football down for half of the season for allegedly signing autographs for money, it could hurt his draft stock in the NFL just like it did Bryant as well as destroy his chances of becoming the first player to win back to back Heismans since Ohio State Archie Griffin did it in 1974 and in 1975.

And while Manziel is a legend at Texas A&M, he still hasn’t proven himself, especially to pro scouts to be good enough to play QB in the NFL.

With a doubt, all of this could have been avoided if Johnny Football would have simply humbled himself and lived a quiet life until he got drafted in the NFL. But, unfortunately, he was a freshman enjoying the perks of being a Heisman trophy winning quarterback, who defeated the big bad wolf in Alabama.

Therefore, he got drunk, partied late, chased women, and acted like a “college-Animal House frat boy.”

Are we really surprised?

Eric D.Graham is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, where he received a B.A. in Mass Communication with a concentration in Radio and Television and a minor in History, with an emphasis in African-American Studies. Currently, he is the Editor and Chief of  Black Athlete Sports Network, where his articles  appear daily along with his controversial  cartoon character Bobbee Bee “The Hater.” Graham can be reached at

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