Johnny Manziel is one of the most scrutinized figures in the history of collegiate athletics, and even his family is worried about him crumbling as a result of the spotlight and attention away from the field.
Manziel’s adjustment to his new life since winning the Heisman Trophy last season was the focus of an excellent article by Wright Thompson for ESPN The Magazine. Thompson’s article includes quotes and anecdotes from many of Manziel’s family members, who recognize how much things have changed because of Manziel’s fame. Manziel’s parents even say they sometimes feel as if they do not know their son and are worried about him getting consumed by his “Johnny Football” persona.
Manziel’s father, Paul, acknowledges in the article that there are many similarities between the two men. Both have combative personalities and showed immaturity in young age.
“I cringe when he wants to play golf,” Paul Manziel told Thompson. “I don’t want to do it, but I know I have to do it. Because he still needs love. He still needs guidance. He still needs to see he’s wrong — and how to control his temper. And if I give up on him, who’s gonna take over? The school sure the hell isn’t gonna do it.”
Even though Manziel is entering his redshirt sophomore season and does not turn 21 until December, the article is rife with references to the quarterback drinking alcohol.
“He ate Skittles, drank beer and won the Heisman,” Manziel’s father is quoted as saying.
The article talks about Manziel drinking beer in his hotel room after winning the Heisman Trophy and ordering drinks at restaurants. Manziel’s father quit drinking to set a good example for his son. He told Thompson he wonders if his son drinks to deal with all his stress.
“I don’t think he knows. If it comes from his drinking, or if he’s mad at himself for not being a better person when he fails, when he fails God and his mom and me. If it makes him angry that he’s got demons in him. You can only speculate because you can’t go in there.”
What’s troubling is hearing that even Manziel’s parents worry about everything falling apart for their son.
“Yeah,” Paul told Thompson one evening, “it could come unraveled. And when it does, it’s gonna be bad. Real bad.
“It’s one night away from the phone ringing,” he says, “and he’s in jail. And you know what he’s gonna say? ‘It’s better than all the pressure I’ve been under. This is better than that.’”
The message was pretty clear that Manziel will be leaving A&M after the season. Manziel’s father is unhappy with the system; he feels like everyone is able to get rich off Johnny, while his son is left seeing a therapist because of all his stress. There were also at least two mentions of members of Manziel’s camp being suspicious of the way the school handled things.
Thompson did a much better job of letting people into Manziel’s life than the quarterback did when he begged his Twitter followers to try living a day in his shoes. Thompson managed to make a supreme athlete who is born into a wealthy Texas oil family a sympathetic figure. But when even your mother is hoping you won’t come undone in public like Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, you know there is a serious cause for concern.Google+