So in case you've been hiding out in the hills of Appalachia the past week, you may have missed the news of Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel missing and/or getting thrown out of the Manning's passing camp because of dehydration and/or illness and/or a massive hangover. It's just another in a long line of semi-questionable yet semi college-like behavior exhibited by Johnny Football.
Manziel's target is bigger than perhaps any other athlete in sports right now and folks are already lining up and taking a number to tear him limb from limb. One of those people is ESPN college football grandstander Mark May, who's made a living out of becoming one of Bristol's professional trolls. We've already seen his inherent bias cloud his judgment as an analyst. Now he's stepping into some pretty interesting territory by calling out Manziel's behavior when he was involved in some pretty unseemly headlines while at Pitt. May used his typical all caps form to wag his finger disapprovingly at Manziel on Twitter.
Alright Johnny Football enough is enough this is your last wake up call STOP BRINGING SHAME TO THE GAME !
— Mark May (@mark_may) July 16, 2013
Ironically enough, as the blog Good Bull Hunting uncovered in an excellent piece, May himself was arrested while in college at Pitt in 1979 for a litany of charges including the always pleasant "inciting to riot." He eventually pled guilty to criminal mischief and disorderly conduct and paid a $150 fine. (For the record, that's chump change compared to Manziel's $2000 fine for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.) Additionally, and more troubling, May was arrested twice while with the Redskins for DWI. Now you know why ESPN doesn't bring him on the television panels when talking about the serious issues of misbehaving professional football players.
Here's the rub – it's easy to call May a hypocrite in this case. And maybe it's true. However, I don't know how comfortable I feel disqualifying every person in humanity from speaking on a topic in which they themselves have been involved in previously. People make mistakes. People learn. People should have the right to speak from that experience and analyze and warn against that behavior. If not, you'd never have the stories of people like Josh Hamilton and Chris Herren. Human beings should be allowed to grow and evolve and change without having to be worried about being labeled by those of us who love to do nothing more than throw stones.
In this case though, and given May's history of trolling, he hasn't exactly earned the benefit of the doubt. It's the UBER SERIOUS ALL CAPS attitude that's the issue. It's the allegation that Manziel is bringing SHAME to everyone who's ever put on a helmet by partying too late one night, including Mark May and his own public record. Quite frankly, it's how May looks down on Manziel with a total lack of perspective that's the main problem.
Johnny Football is polarizing and at this point, he always will be. He's another classic build up and tear down media job that we've seen with Tim Tebow and even more recently Yasiel Puig. The truth lies between the two extremes though. Manziel probably does need to screw his head on his shoulders a little tighter and realize that people are going to notice him partying and showing up courtside in every NBA arena. He's got to realize that when he tweets about how he can't wait to leave College Station, it's going to generate publicity he doesn't want. Yes, Manziel has to be smarter about these things. But I don't think anyone could fairly say Manziel's offseason is bringing shame upon a sport that is built on taking advantage of the myth of the student athlete and has exponentially more serious issues. It's not like college football will never recover from Johnny Football's World Tour. We all need to back off the ledge on this one and realize a balance does exist between "hold people accountable" and "college."
For what it's worth, May must have finally realized this and sent this tweet that was typical of his hideous spelling and grammar.
Thats why I can critique experience
— Mark May (@mark_may) July 16, 2013
I guess that makes sense. Something tells me this is going to be a very, very, very long college football season in the media ranks.