Culture of Hoops

Should Johnny Manziel be Criticized for his Drinking?

Image courtesy of Erik Daniel Drost/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Erik Daniel Drost/Flickr.

Before we patronize Johnny Manziel for being an “alcoholic”, let’s get something straight: Manziel just turned 22-years-old. He’s been legal to drink in the United States for just under 13 months, so maybe lets give him a chance.

Perhaps it’s because he’s similar in age to me, or because my views are more liberal than most, but destroying Manziel’s career before it has even started is getting out of hand. Does he have a drinking problem, or is he just living the dream of millions of young men everywhere?

I’ll pick the latter, saying that Manziel is young and young people drink: a lot. Mix in a four-year, $8.25 million contract and multiple endorsements by billion-dollar companies and the drinking is only going to continue. In today’s society of social media, it’s much tougher for athletes to fly under the radar in the bar scene, especially if they’re a former Heisman Trophy winner.

Manziel definitely has to clean up his act and never miss a team meeting again, but judging him for every sip of alcohol he takes should not happen. Unless your completely straight-edge and don’t like fun, wouldn’t you be in the same boat as Manziel?

Johnny Manziel is Johnny Football because of his obscene gestures and off-field actions. He is one of the most marketable athletes in the world and is taking advantage of that fame and fortune by having fun off the field.

When reports like the Daily Mail’s Johnny Manziel Chugging Bottle article come out belittling Manziel and showing him drinking on New Years Eve, it makes me sick. Wait a minute; Manziel was drinking on New Years Eve? That’s crazy. Nobody 22-years-old gets drunk and goes to a club on New Years Eve. I can’t believe he did such a juvenile thing. What a drunk.

Young rich and famous athletes get into trouble with the media all the time. For example, Patrick Kane used to pop up in the media every six months for doing something dumb while drinking. Whether it was having an altercation with a Buffalo cab driver or getting bombed and taking pictures during Cinco De Mayo, Kane was a hot-topic of discussion. Although Kane has cleaned up his act since the Cinco De Mayo incident, it took a few years for him to get out of the public scene of drunkenness.

No matter what Manziel gets up to off the field, if he doesn’t perform on Sunday’s, than his amazing life is going to stop. Manziel can have his fun now, but he better understand that it won’t last long if he doesn’t work hard on his game. Kane is one of the best hockey players in the world, so he bought himself time to recover from his partying. Manziel, on the other hand hasn’t proved anything yet so he needs to perform as a starting quarterback before people get off his back.

Before everybody diagnoses Manziel as a bust, we need to see more. He only appeared in five games, while starting two of them. Although he had two interceptions and a fumble, he did have an exciting rushing touchdown against the Buffalo Bills, which proved his capability in the National Football League (NFL).

With some comparing Manziel to Michael Vick in pre-draft scouting reports, Vick’s career started pretty similar to Manziel. Vick completed 44 percent of his passes, compared to Manziel’s 51 percent, in his first five games, while recording only two touchdowns. Vick was probably more athletically gifted than Manziel, but it’s too early to critic him into his NFL career.

Every member of the media who is slamming Manziel for every drink he takes, needs to pretend to be in his shoes before further judging him. Partying with Drake, earning millions of dollars and dating the most beautiful girls in the world are things that every young man dreams of. Lets wait a few years before we completely judge Manziel. If he’s 26-years-old and continuing to “oversleep” and be drunk in pictures every week, then I’m on board to call this kid a “jackass” like many others have, but not yet.

Being young and stupid is a part of life; so let the kid grow up a bit before we persecute him even more.

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