Johnny Manziel. Texas A&M quarterback. And the Heisman Award winner for college football as 2012’s best player.
WooHoo. *cue my sarcasm*
I won’t hide my opinion on Manziel’s Heisman win. While some journalists I respect disagreed with me, I think the fact that Manziel was protected from dealing with the media during the regular season, helped him tremendously. Not having to listen to media member after media member ask him about Alabama the week A&M pulled off their upset? No having to answer “How will you handle the pressure Alabama brings?” questions? There is no doubt in my mind that the elimination of media-distraction aided his breakout year.
Does that mean he wouldn’t have won the Heisman? We’ll never know. He won it. End of story.
Or, at least, I’d like to say that’s the end of the story. Word comes this week (via MySanAntonio.com) that Texas A&M officials have met with Manziel and his family about his off-the-field responsibilities as a Heisman winner. Since the Alabama upset and his Heisman win, Manziel’s celebrity has grown exponentially in this age of social media. For example:
Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) December 24, 2012
LeBron James (@KingJames) December 21, 2012
Photo via USA Today – Manziel tweet since deleted
Nothing illegal about being 18+ in a casino and winning money...KEEP HATING!—
Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) January 06, 2013
With his celebrity growing, so come the challenges of it. Keep in mind he is, after all, a college freshman. How many college freshman do you know could handle overnight stardom like that? Not many. And how many could handle it while being shielded from it all season long? Less than “not many”.
Which brings me back to Texas A&M.
Was there no media/social media education during the season? That should be part of the education process. According to this article, A&M didn’t “spend a dime” for Manziel’s Heisman campaign. Texas A&M’s VP of marketing said: “The medium is different now. And A&M is recognized as one of the top social media universities. We had a strong foundation to build off of from our social media.”
“…to build off of from our social media.”
Key words. They show A&M understood the power of social media while the Manziel-mania was going on. With understanding the mania, they should have also known the pitfalls of athletes (both pro and college) of getting in “trouble” on social media. Understanding they should have passed on to Manziel, and his family, from the moment they saw the attention he was receiving on social media. A “top social media” university should have known better.
Yes, social media is changing rapidly but the education of it is not. There are basics to be taught. There are examples that can be used. And yet they wait until AFTER pictures or stories are tweeted by or about Manziel to have a heart-to-heart about his behavior?
He’s 20 years old and in college. He’s going to do things that any other young, college guy is going to do. Having fun is part of the college experience, right?
A&M should have known better instead of waiting until now to teach. Otherwise, I don’t think Manziel would have tweeted this, do you?
There's a bigger and better plan in my future, I'm just struggling to see it right now—
Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) January 11, 2013