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Radioactive

by Dan Gunderson

There has been some recent takes on Heisman winner Johnny Manziel and his off-the-field activities. Last week, the Texas A&M quarterback left the Manning Pass Academy early because of a supposed illness. The speculations began to be thrown around the Internet.

There were pictures of Manziel out the night before and some people speculated that he was too hungover to continue and left the camp for that reason. The reason that he gave was that his phone had died and he had overslept.

After talking with those who head the Academy, there was a mutual agreement that he leave the camp early. During the Southeastern Conference media day earlier this week, Manziel was asked whether or not he was drinking the night before. He decided not to comment on his social activities.

There are other stories out there about Manziel and what he does outside of football including the one where he was involved in a bar fight and subsequently suspended from Texas A&M before he even played a down for the Aggies.

I will say that the media coverage of Manziel is justified. To a point. He is the only freshman ever to win the Heisman award. He is a tremendous talent who pretty much single handily beat Alabama on the road last year.

Because of these things, Manziel is going to be put into a fish bowl. His privacy has vanished and he seems to be having a hard time understanding that. As a 20-year-old in college, I did some stupid things. I will admit, I had a beer or five. I was never Johnny Manziel, though.

I didn’t have the pressure or the responsibility that he does as college football’s most recognizable player. However, for the media and even people to claim that Johnny Football is going to fail because he acting his age is preposterous.

Reality is that your maturity level doesn’t equate into how good of a football player you are. Any college athlete will make personal decisions they regret later in life. I don’t think leaving a passing academy early is one we should hang anybody for.

I suppose it is the times we live in, with instant access and reaction to every move a celebrity makes. I think Manziel embraces that and so would many people. We should remember that for as upset as some people appear to be about Manziel, there were times when athletes could get away with much worse.

Can you imagine the University of Miami from the 80’s and 90’s in today’s day and age of technology? The NCAA would be handing down sanctions so fast your head would be spinning.

In the end, I believe that Manziel will come to realization that he needs to hold himself to a higher standard but his actions in no way mean he is done as a football player. That goes for any college athlete at any university.

College athletes must feel much like the lyrics in the Imagine Dragons song Radioactive.
“I’m breaking in, shaping up then checking out of the prison bus. Welcome to the new age. I’m Radioactive. Radioactive.”