Celebrate the champion not the loudmouth
Going Long with Geisler
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 01:09
American culture is steeped in self-involved decadence. As a country, do we value the humble champion or the loudmouth?
Sports, movies, TV shows—they’re all just a reflection of where we stand as a culture. So as often happens, the fight over embracing this decadence or fighting it spilled over into the world of sports in a real way this weekend when Johnny Manziel and his Texas A&M Aggies matched up with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
This weekend, the champion won. And we should celebrate that.
Last year, Manziel became the first freshman ever to win the Heisman trophy. Ever since he won, the 20-year-old college sophomore has run around acting like you’d expect most 20-year-olds who become celebrities to act. Partying a lot. Writing stupid stuff on Twitter. It can’t be easy to be a 20-year-old celebrity. However when you professionalize the college game in the manner that we have over the last 30 years, immature people like Manziel, (and like Terrelle Pryor and countless others before him) will make selfish, poor decisions all while dazzling us on the gridiron.
Information continues to trickle out making it clear that the NCAA and A&M’s agreed upon half game suspension is unlikely to be the last we hear of Johnny Football’s affinity for signing autographs. Exhibit A: a picture of him signing autographs in an autograph brokers apartment that came out this week.
Some folks respond to situations like this by saying we should be paying athletes in high revenue sports, which is absolutely the worst possible option. When the problem is that a game played by 18-23 year old men too closely resembles the pro game, the answer isn’t to make it more like the pro game. It’s to promote and be proud of programs where discipline is valued.
I understand guys like Johnny Football are fun to watch. I also understand flash is what sells. But we shouldn’t celebrate immaturity. Instead, we should celebrate teams like Alabama. Teams that play excellent defense, smart offense and execute on special teams.
Another common response to violations like Manziel’s is to blame the NCAA, which is absolutely a ridiculous governing body with ridiculous rules. A constitutional convention of sorts from the NCAA would probably be a smart move, but without that massive overhaul, rules are rules. We might not always like them, and they’re often stupid, but life becomes quite difficult for you when you disregard them.
Johnny Manziel has acted arrogantly and he’s disregarded the rules at his peril. We shouldn’t celebrate him for it.