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Johnny Manziel documentary reveals the big lie he and Uncle Nate fabricated

Johnny Manziel at a basketball game

Mar 4, 2017; College Station, TX, USA; Former Texas A&M Aggies quarterback and 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel watches a game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Reed Arena. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The new Johnny Manziel documentary revealed the big lie he and his friend “Uncle” Nate Fitch fabricated a decade ago to get out of trouble with the NCAA.

In the time after he won the Heisman Trophy, Manziel’s popularity surged. He saw many people and organizations around him making money off his popularity, while he could not financially capitalize off it because of NCAA rules. So Manziel began signing autographs for cash, which was against NCAA rules.

The Texas A&M student then began traveling around the country, making high-profile appearances such as sitting courtside for NBA games. He did that using the cash he earned from the autograph signings.

Once Manziel drew the suspicion of the NCAA, his buddy Fitch, who was handling the quarterback’s business at the time, came up with a lie they hoped would explain all the money being spent. They planted a story in the media that Manziel came from oil money and that’s how the young college quarterback could afford such a lavish lifestyle.

“The next step is: how are you going to explain why you are wearing Rolexes and driving in new cars and flying in private jets?” Fitch explained on “Untold: Johnny Football.” “And so the biggest spin that still exists today. I invented a narrative that [the Manziel] family was vastly wealthy.”

Manziel went along with the lie.

“We sold a little bit of a dream that my family had more money than they actually did,” Manziel added in the documentary.

The lie was helped spread through a July 2013 story by ESPN’s Wright Thompson, who wrote that Manziel’s father was “the grandson of a Texas oil fortune, which still funds the family.” Deadspin, which broke open the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend story, helped spread the Manziel lie with a long piece about the Manziel family’s history.

Manziel ended up suspended for the first half of Texas A&M’s 2013 game against Rice. Fitch said in the documentary that they went right back to signing autographs for money despite the punishment.

Fitch, who was replaced as Manziel’s manager once the quarterback turned pro, estimated in 2014 that Manziel was worth $8-$10 million in college had they been allowed to fully cash in the quarterback’s fame.


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