The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

August 1, 2013

Manziel far from finished product

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

To understand the impact that celebrity has on the youth of this country we can look at Justin Bieber, Amanda Bynes and Britney Spears. Manziel is navigating through a minefield, while trying to figure out what kind of man he wants to be when he grows up. It might seem easy, but as we all know growing up isn't easy — I imagine it's even harder under the white hot microscope of ESPN and TMZ. Plenty of people in the media have said the criticism around Manziel isn't fair, because he's just a 20-year-old kid, but in an outstanding piece by ESPN's Wright Thompson, both of Manziel's parents expressed worry over their son's drinking. If they're worried about the partying, it's safe to say everyone else can be too.

While Manziel might be misunderstood, he hasn't done himself any favors. The Manning camp debacle, which saw Manziel leave the Manning Passing Academy due to dehydration last month, only sped up the narrative that he is an out of control 20-year-old with excessive party habits.

Whether or not Manziel was hungover, or he just simply overslept because his cell phone died is something only he knows, but he certainly wouldn't be the first or last college sophomore to sleep in after a night of heavy drinking. This, of course, was magnified and over-analyzed due to the fact that it was a camp run by the Mannings, the first family of quarterbacks. No matter which story you believe, this much can be said: Manziel badly mismanaged a great career networking opportunity.

Combine the Manning camp with Manziel bizarre barrage of tweets directed at any and all his critics, and Manziel can be viewed in a pretty negative light. Anyone who has used Twitter knows it is a haven for loudmouth morons who love nothing more than to enrage an athlete like Manziel. It's not worth his time and he needs to be smarter than to let these people get under his skin.

Johnny Manziel has a great future ahead of him if he can open his eyes and take a deep breath. He's only 20- years old and just trying to figure everything out for himself. We all can remember what it was like to be a 20-year-old college sophomore, and the dumb decisions we made.

Manziel is far from a finished product — he's just a kid

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