Johnny Manziel: An Accident Waiting To Happen?

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Ever seen a train wreck or a multi-car accident? How about one involving an athlete? I mean one without a train and without cars. This one has skid marks all over the field and all over the railways and roadways leading to the stadium. That’s the picture of Johnny “Football” Manziel.

Manziel has been unable to stay out of trouble since the Browns selected him in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. According to some sources, his father and ex-girlfriend and former agent have all expressed and voiced and registered concerns about the party-hardy Heisman Trophy winner.

“I truly believe if they can’t get him help, he won’t live to see his 24th birthday,” Paul Manziel told The Dallas Morning News. That’s Manziel’s dad.

In October, Avon (Ohio) police pulled over Manziel after an altercation with Coleen Crowley, Manziel’s ex-girlfriend. She told police that Manziel “hit me a couple times” after she threw his wallet out of the car window. She declined to press charges and Manziel denied hitting her.

In late January, Crowley said Manziel acted like he was on drugs but not intoxicated during a January 29th incident, according to the police report. He also allegedly dragged her by her hair, forced her into a car and told her to “shut up or I’ll kill us both,” WFAA-TV (Channel 8) reported, citing unnamed sources.

And in early January, quarterback Johnny Manziel was cited for driving with expired license plates last weekend. According to police in North Olmsted, Ohio, Manziel was stopped at 8:28 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 3, 2016, while driving on Interstate 480. 

Then, NFL player’s agent Erik Burkhardt said Friday that he’d dropped Manziel as a client “after several emotional and very personal discussions with his family, his doctors and (Manziel) himself.” Burkhardt went on to say that 

Though I will remain a friend and Johnny supporter, and he knows that I have worked tirelessly to arrange a number of professional options for him to continue to pursue, it has become painfully obvious that his future rests solely in his own hands … His family and I have gone to great lengths to outline the steps we feel he must take to get his life in order . . . Accountability is the foundation of any relationship, and without it, the function of my work is counterproductive.

So who do we believe? Who should we believe? The kid won the Heisman, for crying out loud. And yet his performance on the field and his behavior off the field aren’t laudable or commendable but instead are pitiful and contemptible. Manziel has a long list of unworthy, untoward actions not worth any trophy or award, and rumor has it that he will be cut from his current team, the Cleveland Browns in March.

But there’s always hope, right?

So who wants him now? Who would want him now? Reportedly Dallas does, but that remains to be seen. And so the lesson is clear: Manziel needs to shape up, or ship out. And if any of us acts contrary to any awards or accolades that we may acquire, that goes for us too.

“Johnny Football:” Don’t Believe The Hype

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Jonathan Paul Manziel is only 6.0 feet tall, a tad on the diminutive side for a quarterback, and, from the looks of his performance so far, he may have an equally stunt NFL career. A bold, blatant, brazen statement, perhaps? Maybe not. Pre-Season Football is like going to the dentist; we all know it’s necessary, but none of us want to go. So do you put any weight or stock, credence or confidence in the play of players during a preseason game?

Jonathan “Johnny Football” Manziel won the Heisman Trophy in 2012 as a freshman at Texas A&M and by all accounts, he was the next Joe Namath, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana and Tom Brady combined. And he was only a FRESHMAN! According to most, the media made Manziel more than he maybe was meant to be. The media gave Manziel the moniker “Johnny Football” and this title stuck, and it has him stuck trying to measure up to all of the animation and anticipation.

Johnny Football is having trouble playing down and living up to all of the hype. Hype, the noun, is defined this way: “exaggerated publicity or hoopla,” and can mean “a swindle, deception, or trick.” Hype, the verb, means “to create interest in by flamboyant or dramatic methods; to promote or publicize showily; to intensify by advertising, promotion, or publicity, or by ingenious or questionable claims or methods.” In other words, hype is “created” or drummed up, and is usually false and fraudulent.

All of the hype surrounding Manziel’s entry into the NFL has overshadowed his actual ability to perform at the next level. He played wonderfully for Texas A&M last year, but terribly last Monday night against the Washington Redskins, going 7-16 for 65 yards, with 3 sacks. Since he didn’t exactly light it up, and he’s not exactly meeting expectations, he will not be the starter for the Browns come September.

And if his poor performance wasn’t enough, for an encore, Manziel raised his middle finger toward the opponents’ bench as he returned to the huddle late in the third quarter of Monday night’s 24-23 loss. Truth be told, it was one of the few times a Browns QB actually found his intended target. “It does not sit well,” Cleveland coach Mike Pettine said. “It’s disappointing, because what we talk about is being poised and being focused. That’s a big part of all football players, especially the quarterback.” Manziel called the moment a “lapse of judgment.” I call that declaration a denial, and the understatement of the year.

New names or nicknames are supposed to describe and define, not dupe and defraud. We should live up to our names, not play down to them. In other words, what people call us and conclude about us is indicative of our life and our lifestyle.

Facts and not hype should be what we are known for. Christians, above all other people of faith, should live up to the name we have been given. The New Testament book of Acts tells us that the followers of Jesus Christ “were first called Christians at Antioch.” Christian means “like Christ.” However, during the First Century, the term “Christian” was a derogatory term; a slight and a slur; an insult and an indignity; and it was a disgrace and a dishonor to be called a Christian by the World at that time. But have times changed?

Some overzealous Christians have “hyped” Christianity by preaching and purporting a Prosperity Doctrine. It’s a goofy gospel that says that as Christians we are always to be healthy and happy, wealthy and well-off, blooming and blossoming. By this standard, no Christian should ever have a bad day. Not true. We have created our own hype and can’t live up to it.

Erwin McManus said that “for those of us who live here in the Western World—and any place that has been affected by affluence, security, safety and comfort—there’s a sense where we begin to buy into a subtle theological lie that God promises us safety and security and comfort and wealth…the truth of the matter is that God has never promised us that we would always be secure or comfortable or become wealthy.”

God has promised us that He will be with us through every phase of life, in good times and in bad, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health; just like the marriage vows, God has promised to be with us through it all.

And so the question is, “Have we lived up to our name?” When we perform poorly and behave badly, when we teach wrongly and live imperfectly, we discredit our Lord, and bring shame to his name. So let’s forget the hype; let’s get back to being salt and light, to being cities on a hill, candles on a tall stick, so that men will see us trust God for everything and in everything.