Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has grabbed headlines for every step he has taken since winning the Heisman trophy eight months ago. From going to the NBA Finals, to becoming friends with the Drake, LeBron James, from being excused from the Manning Passing camp, to attending a fraternity party in Austin at the Aggies rival Texas, Manziel has had his fair share of air time over what seems like the longest college football offseason ever.
While none of these activities were against any NCAA rules, the most recent allegations to come against the redshirt sophomore have him in a real heap of — just for the agricultural school — cow patties.
This story, because of the high-profiles involved — a team on the verge of a run at at a national championship and the current Heisman winner — is easy to sell to the masses, get ratings and viewership, but 366 miles away someone else was given another chance to play this season, after a crime, not some comparatively tenuous NCAA violation.
The news came in a blip across the bottom of your television screen, via a few tweets in your timeline, or perhaps you missed it. LSU's Jeremy Hill was reinstated for the season.
For the second time in his 22-year existence, the sophomore running back was arrested. The first coming in high school where Hill and a buddy committed despicable acts to a girl four years his junior.
Afterwards, LSU head coach Les Miles rewarded the four-star recruit with a scholarship.
This time the 6-foot-2, 235-pound monster attacked a defenseless man outside of a Baton Rouge bar as you can see in the video here. As wild as it may seem, his defense attorney — an LSU alum — convinced the judge — also an LSU alum — that Hill, who pleaded guilty to the charges, deserved probation, not time in prison.
Being what the Louisiana court system is, Hill found his way out of a prison sentence. Instead, he was sentenced to two years probation (of course traveling for LSU away games and playing in night games does not break probation), 50 hours of community service, pay $375 for the victims medical bills and write a letter of apology.
This time Miles awarded Hill with a welcome back to the football team.
Hill's football career, which made him a star in the state of Louisiana, will remain as it was. He was allowed back on the football team he rushed 755 yards and 12 touchdowns for. Why? Most of all because he will help win football games.
Miles told the press on Monday if it was up to him, Hill would not be allowed but on the team, but Miles allowed the team to vote on it. And big surprise here, Hill's 18-22 year-old buddies let him come back on the team.
Johnny Football wanted some extra cash. For what, who knows? Was it worth the consequences that may arise from his actions? No, but if his allegations are true, Johnny Football's college career will presumably be over. I can't say how, as a 20-year-old, I would handle the limelight. I can't definitively say I would not fall into the same traps. I've never been offered more than about $10 bucks an hour for any skill I possess.
However, I do know what Hill did to a defenseless man outside a Baton Rouge bar in early July is deplorable. I do know that Miles dropped a couple of notches on my scale, a scale he was already low on for the way he has handled situations like this in the past.
Based on his previous handlings of simple battery situations, I should have known better. I should have known that winning football games and keeping the LSU fanbase — including the alums in a defunct court system — is more paramount than developing character, and that the Johnny Football drama is more signigicant to the media than allowing a monster back on campus where other potential victims may be living their lives.