Monday, July 15, 2013

5 comments Tim Keown Thinks the NCAA Should Pay for Johnny Manziel's Parking Ticket

I've sort of already made my feelings regarding Johnny Manziel's Twitter response upon receiving a parking ticket known, but I just had to cover this Tim Keown article. Of course after I write this, Johnny Manziel decides he is too hungover to attend the Manning Quarterback Camp, causing another controversy. Tim Keown isn't writing about that, but writing about Manziel's parking ticket issues. Tim in very serious fashion (just look at his picture, he's really fucking serious) confuses the issue of Manziel's parking ticket by explaining this wouldn't happen if Manziel could make money off his likeness. I guess that's his point. The main point about Manziel's Tweet should be about Manziel wanting to get out of College Station and his Tweeting "walk a mile in my shoes" as some sort of grab for sympathy over a parking ticket. It's not a big deal that he complains about wanting out of College Station, but his "mile in my shoes" Tweet (which Keown ever-so-conveniently doesn't even touch on) seems to be the big disconnect for me. The issue is not about Manziel Tweeting angrily, but about him attempting to gain sympathy for being well-known around the Texas A&M campus and becoming a celebrity. Tim Keown says Johnny Manziel wouldn't get a parking ticket if he got paid to play football. I guess that's his point. I'm not entirely sure, but I don't see how college athletes getting paid has anything to do with illegal parking. Talk about confusing the issue.

The Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M is quite a place. It's a testament to the nothing-is-too-good-for-our-kids philosophy of college architecture -- glass, stone and steel, with luxurious sitting rooms and restaurants and whatever else you might need to escape the infernal College Station heat.

Except you can get a parking ticket if you choose to park near the bookstore?

The most prominent clothing items are "No Heisman without the MAN" T-shirts and "Heisman Football" T-shirts and No. 2 jerseys and No. 2 T-shirts and No. 2 baseball caps. It's all very careful: no direct reference to Johnny Manziel

Well of course there's no reference to Manziel. These shirts and baseball caps aren't necessarily referring to Manziel. It could be referring to Marcus Gold or Earvin Taylor. Maybe Texas A&M just likes the number 2 because they think putting the number 1 on the back of a jersey is too presumptive and doesn't look as good on a T-shirt?

and no mention of "Johnny Football," the nickname Manziel has attempted to protect -- and eventually monetize -- through copyright.

Walk a day in Manziel's shoes, Tim Keown. Copyrighting a nickname isn't as easy as you think it is. You have to think of a nickname, fill out the patent form, then fill out the envelope while spelling "Alexandria, Virginia" correctly, make sure you sending it to the "US Patent and Trademark" headquarters and not the "US Patient Office," while also learning how exactly to mail a letter out. That's assuming you want to file the patent an easy way. If he wants to try the hard way and file the patent online, then Manziel has to figure out how to turn on this thing that looks like a television but his remote control won't work on it and when he approaches the computer all he sees are a bunch of numbers and letters on a long rectangular looking object that plugs into the DVR-looking object beside the television-looking object. It's just not as easy to file a patent as it initially seems. It's good to have bros who can help out when it comes to things like mailing letters and turning on a computer.

I walked through the bookstore on a quiet and hot June afternoon a couple of weeks ago, 

I like how Tim Keown appears to just randomly cruise around college campuses. "I was hanging around the quad at Auburn University recently, just watching some guys play Ultimate Frisbee..."

I thought about it again when I read the uproar over the ridiculously minuscule controversy regarding Manziel's ill-advised tweet after a parking ticket last weekend.

I admit it is a miniscule controversy. There's no doubt about that, but the topic is not so miniscule that Tim Keown can't write an entire column about it. The Tweet was really not a very big deal, other than it made people wonder why Manziel wanted to leave College Station. It became more annoying than anything, at least to me, when Manziel wanted us to "walk in his shoes."

The overriding perception of tremendous young athletes has always been confusing. A 19-year-old can design a T-shirt or a computer game that sells millions and we call him a prodigy, an entrepreneur. We celebrate his ingenuity and his wealth. But a 20-year-old whose college football jersey sells millions isn't entitled to that money,

No, Johnny Manziel can design a T-shirt or a computer game that would make millions and he is entitled to this money. He can't design a T-shirt that trades off his own image though, because that's a big no-no. Overall, I'm not sure at all what this has to do with a Tweet about a parking ticket, but I'm hanging in here hoping Tim Keown gets to the point.

But a 20-year-old whose college football jersey sells millions isn't entitled to that money, or to the money generated by his talent on game day. And if he points out the unfairness of this relationship in any way, he is labeled an ingrate for not understanding the value of his college education.

I think college athletes have more support than ever as it pertains to those people who understand the unfairness of this relationship. The problem, as always has been the problem, is that no one has a clue as to how to compensate these college athletes for the value they bring into their college through sports. It's a two-step process and we aren't even past the point where many feel comfortable giving college athletes compensation for playing college sports. Once that point is reached (if that point ever gets reached) it needs to be decided how to go about actually compensating these athletes fairly. Good luck with that.

Back to this is a very tenuous relationship between Johnny Manziel Tweeting angrily about a parking ticket and Johnny Manziel getting paid to play football. I think Tim Keown really wanted to write an article about paying college athletes but just needed a way to slip into this discussion. Much like 75% of these sportswriters who write about paying college athletes, Keown has absolutely no suggestions as to how much Manziel should get paid, how it is decided which college athletes even get paid, and where the money to pay these athletes will come from. I would be angry over this, but it is common. I read a lot of snide comments about how college athletes should get paid, but don't find ideas on how to pay these athletes alongside these comments.

It simply doesn't matter that his school is probably selling enough individually branded gear -- however obtuse the presentation -- in a week to pay for his scholarship several times over.

And this has what to do with a parking ticket and Johnny Manziel's frustration upon receiving a parking ticket again?

For decades, the NCAA has done a remarkable job of public relations. The NCAA powers that be know we all look back fondly on the days when we were playing games, and that sentiment is a powerful influence when it comes to old guys deciding who should get what and who should just shut up about it already.

I'm not very smart. I don't get how Johnny Manziel getting a parking ticket and getting upset about it on Twitter has anything to do with Manziel being paid to play football. Even if he got paid to play quarterback, he would still have to pay the parking ticket, right? Or is part of his compensation from Texas A&M that he could park wherever he wants?

It's easy to draw a connecting line from the bookstore to the parking ticket to the tweet in which Manziel expresses his disgust for College Station and a desire to leave "whenever it may be."

It's actually really not that easy to do this. It's easy to draw a connecting line from Manziel getting a parking ticket to him Tweeting about a desire to leave College Station and then asking us to "walk a mile in my shoes" once he is surprised about the feedback he received on Twitter when he stated he can't wait to leave Texas A&M.

Without the Heisman and the adulation, of course, nobody would care. 

Absolutely true. No one would care about Manziel if he didn't receive all this adulation. Now the question is whether Manziel pursued this adulation and my opinion is that he absolutely did. He has made a great effort to be seen as a celebrity. He has Tweeted out pictures of money he won gambling, he posts pictures of him sitting courtside at NBA games, and he posts pictures of him with celebrities. Mark Ingram, Cam Newton, Robert Griffin, and Sam Bradford all managed to win a Heisman Trophy and they didn't receive quite the amount of adulation and fame outside of the fame that came with being a high-profile college football player. Robert Griffin by all accounts managed to take classes in the Baylor classroom with his fellow students, Cam Newton had controversy surrounding him at Auburn but he still found a way to not post pictures of himself with stacks of money, and Mark Ingram didn't need to Tweet out pictures of himself sitting courtside at NBA games.

It's nothing against Manziel and I in no way think he is in the wrong. It's just he has chased this celebrity that he has now achieved. Manziel is doing nothing wrong by enjoying his time in the spotlight, but he has also made it very clear he enjoys and will continue to pursue being in the spotlight. He can't just turn it on and off when it is convenient for him.

The idolatry creates something you can't just un-create.

Fine, but who created it? I have some sympathy for Manziel, but the bottom line is that Manziel helped to create the idolatry by creating a public persona which encourages this idolatry. He's a stupid, young college kid who knows he wants to be famous enough to take pictures with coeds and celebrities, but doesn't want to deal with all the negative attention this may bring.

Overreaction is part of the deal. Now, though, with social media providing an instant connection to the world, even the most insignificant complaints end up as headlines.

That's absolutely true. These insignificant complaints end up as headlines more often when the person making the complaint has put himself out in the public and has a large social media presence like Manziel has. I would fully expect Manziel to overreact and that's something he is entitled to do every once in a while, but his overreaction has more to do with him being 20 years old and less to do with him not being paid to play football.

If you felt you received a bogus parking ticket on campus 20 years ago and told your roommates, "I can't wait to get out of this place," they probably would have nodded and gone about their business.

That's probably true, but I also would have told my roommates this and not share this thought out with the entire world. I would fully know I am a public figure at the school I attend and could probably just go to public safety and explain the situation...assuming it was a bogus ticket.

Is Manziel immature? It seems like it. Should he, and every other high-profile athlete, be judicious about using social media to voice petty concerns? Definitely, if only to avoid having to explain his way out of something insignificant.

And again, notice how Keown carefully avoids the "woe is me" Tweet where Manziel encouraged us to "walk a mile in his shoes." He avoids this because he knows Manziel has brought a lot of this attention upon himself by trying really hard to have a public persona off the football field. Instead, Keown desperately tries to tie Manziel's parking ticket to the Texas A&M bookstore selling #2 jerseys.

But Manziel's momentary displeasure with his surroundings -- spurred, it must be noted, by his decision to park his Mercedes, which has windows tinted too darkly, pointing the wrong direction -- brings up an uncomfortable truth:

That uncomfortable truth being that Manziel clearly seemed to deserve this parking ticket?

You might get all misty-eyed when the band plays the alma mater after a big win, but these guys don't. Just because it was the best years of your life doesn't mean it's the best of theirs.

Hey, it's another straw-man argument. Tim Keown is saying Johnny Manziel's parking ticket rant on Twitter isn't a big deal (which it really isn't) because he doesn't get paid to play football and because Manziel doesn't care as much as Texas A&M fans do about the outcome of the football games.

That's the crux of the O'Bannon antitrust lawsuit, which aims to give current and former players a cut of media revenue and other merchandise -- A&M No. 2 jerseys, for example.

Oh, so Manziel doesn't care about Texas A&M, but he certainly wants to get his cut of revenue he is generating from the school he doesn't care about? I think I understand what Tim Keown is saying now. Actually, I don't understand. Keown has essentially indicated he thinks Manziel's parking ticket was well-earned, but then gets off on a tangent about Manziel getting paid to play football which seemingly has little to do with the parking ticket Manziel received nor Manziel's Twitter rant.

It raises a multitude of important questions, and here's one related to Manziel: If college athletes were paid, would a player such as Manziel -- a college hero with a questionable NFL future -- be more inclined to stay in school through four years of eligibility?

Some players would be more inclined to stay in school through four years of eligibility, but for college athletes that have a chance at being a successful pro athlete I'm not sure the aim should be to keep these players in college for all four years. It's preferred, but would Johnny Manziel rather earn $100,000 playing for Texas A&M or earn $1 million playing for an NFL team? It's not a hard decision for some college athletes.

Would the NCAA, in effect, become a short-term competitor for the NFL?

The NCAA is not intended to be a short-term competitor for the NFL. It's intended to be a collegiate sports system where amateur athletes can earn an education while playing sports. Obviously the NCAA doesn't always succeed in this area, but the NCAA is not set up to be a competitor to the NFL nor should it be set up that way.

Good. From the botched Miami investigation to the unfair transfer rules to the outrageous coach salaries, serious tectonic movement is a hell of an idea. It's a concept we should all embrace.

And of course like any good backseat driver Tim Keown has no idea how this concept should be initiated nor does have any good ideas, but he just knows how things work now isn't working.

Big Ten president Jim Delany says it wouldn't be out of the question for the conference to adopt a Division III, nonscholarship model if college players gain financial control over their likeness and performance.

It feels like an outrageous suggestion -- mostly because it is -- but there's another way to look at it:

Is the other way to look at it that this has nothing to do with a parking ticket Johnny Manziel received in 2013?

If the lawsuit goes forward, and the players win, there might be no need for scholarships.

And of course athletes would never again get another parking ticket.

One thing is for sure: Judging by the clothes hanging in the A&M bookstore, Johnny Manziel wouldn't need one.

This article had nothing to do with the parking ticket that Johnny Manziel received. Why is Manziel so popular and why wouldn't he need a scholarship (which by the way, Manziel's parents seem to be pretty wealthy so I'm not sure he needs a scholarship to Texas A&M, which seems to cost about $4600 per semester for in-state tuition)? Possibly because Manziel has done an excellent job of taking his on-field persona and translated it to an off-the-field persona, which is why I don't feel bad for him when he wants me to take a walk in his shoes.


Anonymous said...

This can be a funny blog but do you realize you mentioned the parking ticket about 17 times? 17!

That is excessive and repetitive.

Isaac said...

The biggest problem I have with arguments in favor of paying players is that they always assume that EVERY school has revenues like Ohio State or Texas A&M. For schools like these, paying players is no big deal. What about schools like Akron or Troy? They depend on that money to keep other programs floating.

I think the players should get something, but I don't think you can tie it to revenues like jersey sales, etc. This will send entitlement syndrome of players like Manziel over the cliff, and create plenty of problems not just with the rest of the student body, but even on their own team.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, thanks. The column was about the parking ticket, but I didn't know I mentioned it that many times.

Isaac, I think I have talked about this a few years ago. A lot of people want athletes to get paid, which is a fine opinion, but these writers rarely have ideas on which athletes to pay and how much. Do you pay the women's swim team? Or do they get less money because they don't bring in enough revenue? By that logic of paying athletes based on how much revenue they bring in, won't you run into Title IV issues?

Then there is the issue you bring up. Most football programs don't make money and those that do make money use this money (like you said) to fund other sports. So at my alma mater, App State, if we paid players then we would have to drop other sports or find another way to support the other sports as well as the football team. I don't think App has the money to pay players and support the football team at the D-I level.

Anonymous said...

Hope you will be posting on Simmons' latest.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, yeah the Lakers column? I do plan on posting about that.