Texas A&M made freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel available to the media in a conference call on Monday.
This is the same Johnny Manziel who was not available to the media for almost the entire season because he was a freshman and ostensibly not ready to deal with the media on a regular basis.
This is the same Johnny Manziel who nearly beat Florida and LSU and did beat Alabama and was the subject of numerous stories–without being quoted of course–during the regular season.
This is the same Johnny Manziel who is now two weeks away from probably winning the Heisman Trophy, symbolic of being the best football player in college football.
And now he is available? What a coincidence that the kid who was not mature enough to deal with the media scrutiny can now handle it. Could the fact that ESPN, which televises the Heisman might want to talk to the guy who will probably win before he wins? Nah.
Now A&M will tell you that since the Aggies regular season is now over, Manziel can talk about the season he just completed.
Forget football. Parents everywhere should have their children become Aggies, even if its only for a few months. Any school that can mature an 18 or 19-year-old kid to the point where he can handle the national television exposure in only a few months is truly a world-class university.
First of all. Manziel wasn’t a babe in the woods when he started the season. He was a redshirt freshman, which means he had been around the block a few times in getting used to being a college student. He came out of Texas high school football, where Friday Night Lights is a way of life. Football stars grow up fast in Texas.
So he could have handled the media-controlled by a super efficient and competent Sports Information staff run by our old buddy Alan Cannon–easily from game one.
But no. He was off-limits all season. And now he is available.
My response. No thank you. I will pass. Let Manziel’s accomplishments on the field be his introduction to the world. We can wait to hear what he has to say when he gets to New York in a couple of weeks.
What football coaches–who are among the leaders in being control freaks–don’t get is that college is the place where you learn how to not only deal with your skills as an athlete, but you learn how to deal with the world as you make the transition from being a kid to being an adult.
Dealing with the media is part of that transition for athletes. By keeping Manziel off-limits, A&M slowed down that process. Shame on them.
So Johnny Manziel can chatter all he wants now. Not interested. I will wait until Heisman Saturday to hear what he has to say.
© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.