Health of Quarterback Johnny Manziel Goes Beyond the Game

Manziel’s famous touchdown money dance, Draft Day 2014. (courtesy dm news — youtube.com)

Johnny Manziel is no longer wanted in the NFL, no longer needed. It’s just that simple.
 Sports media can take a person’s life and make them a household name, ie; Michael Jordan. Other times, sports media can chew a person up and spit them back out, and that’s the name of the game. It has happened to a handful of professional athletes and it is happening now. The latest case being Johnny Manziel.

Johnny Manziel used to be a household name for football fans and sports fans alike. Nowadays he is more known for his off field blunders — arrests, parties, rehabilitation — than his once stunning on field presence.

Manziel gained his success and fame as a freshman in college at Texas A&M. He played the quarterback position with maneuverability that had not been seen since Cam Newton at Auburn. His dazzling plays and shotgun, touchdown tossing, arm earned him the 2012 Heisman Trophy, the equivalent to the NFL Most Valuable Player award.

Going into 2013 Manziel looked great, improving his touchdown throws from 26 in 2012 to 37 in 2013 earning him the nickname “Johnny Football.” He would later declare himself ready for the NFL Draft at the end of his sophomore year of college.

How does one of the most lethal college quarterbacks go from “Johnny Football” to “Johnny Out-of-Football?” The media and fans had a huge part in it. Manziel had trouble with the law and rules while he was in college, and naturally they would transcend into the professional world. The sports media jumped all over him reporting that he is troubled and what NFL team would want him. One team took a “risk” by drafting Johnny Manziel.

Two seasons later, two mediocre wins out of six NFL starts, and a file full of off-field mishaps and Manziel is out of a job, out of a franchise, and out of the league.

The media frenzy and the social media sabotage was the creation of our own doing. Fans of sports and the NFL teased Manziel for his behavior and recklessness. They taunted him for his terrible performance in the NFL. Now that he is out of the league what is he supposed to do? He is facing indictment charges for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend. We are watching his spiraling downfall, ready to post the next popular social media meme. Professional organizations like CBS sports joined in on the bashing.

Public attacks on a person can do psychological damage. The mental health of Johnny Manziel is something we should all be concerned about. He is the latest case of celebrity downfall in the public eye and rather than help the man or leave him alone, we continue to humiliate him. A once young rising star, with infinite potential, is now sitting in a courtroom, waiting for a verdict that could seal his fate. Can he redeem himself and find himself back in the NFL?

We shouldn’t have to ask these questions. I believe we forced Manziel into this hole, and we can do it again, to the next superstar who just wants to be a professional athlete.

His reputation is tarnished, but I believe if he puts in the hard work and countless hours of training, what is now ruining his life can also help him get back on the right path. He also has to work on his mental strength and fortitude, because without that, the sports media will continue to pick him apart with his every action.

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