Opinion

Hookstead’s Hot Take: The Media Is Largely Responsible For Johnny Manziel’s Downfall

Johnny Manziel (Reuters Pictures)

David Hookstead Smoke Room Editor-in-Chief

The downfall of Johnny Manziel is often discussed by the media, but something always lacking in the discussion is the media’s own responsibility for his unprecedented fall from grace.

Manziel, aka Johnny Football, became one of the most famous people in America at the young age of 19 after upsetting top ranked Alabama. The redshirt freshman threw for 253 yards and two touchdowns, while also tacking on 92 rushing yards.

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

COLLEGE STATION, TX – SEPTEMBER 14: Johnny Manziel #2 of Texas A&M Aggies waits near the bench in the fourth quarter during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Kyle Field on September 14, 2013 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

A relatively unknown dual-threat quarterback who played high school football at Tivy High School in the small city of Kerville, Texas was a household name overnight. The thought of legally buying a beer was still years away. Soon Manziel was hoisting up the Heisman trophy, and everybody knows the craziness that followed. (RELATED: Hookstead’s HoTake: You’re A Racist If You Criticize Johnny Manziel)

Several people argued that it was the rich upbringing that put Manziel into a tailspin, but the truth is that the money didn’t derail the electric quarterback. It was becoming more famous than most celebrities in the world ever reach at the peak of their careers — at the age of 19.

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND, OH – DECEMBER 13: Quarterback Johnny Manziel #2 of the Cleveland Browns warms up prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The children of rich people are everywhere in America and at all schools across this country. However, they are able to spend their parents money with relative anonymity, and thus, are capable of maintaining a certain level mental stability. Unfortunately, Manziel didn’t have this luxury.

Johnny Football was soon experiencing attention no college student should ever deal with or has ever been trained to deal with. Routine activities of college students, such as drinking under age, soon became taboo when Manziel participated. His presence at a party received wall-to-wall coverage on ESPN. Gambling at a casino, which is totally legal and acceptable, was covered as if it was a big scandal that a young man coming from a family of his resources had the money to spend. The Aggies legend is spotted with a bottle of champagne in a pool, and it’s national news for all the wrong reasons.

The media began holding Manziel to a standard far above his peers, celebrity and non-celebrity alike.

Show up at any parties at the University of Wisconsin, USC or Virginia on a Saturday night and you’ll see things far wilder than Manziel drinking champagne. In every corner you look you will find the child of a luxurious upbringing, who also has the money necessary to buy all the alcohol and drugs they want. That’s normal for lots of college students. However, the media built up a bubble pretending he was participating in unprecedented actions.

Of course, the talented quarterback is also responsible for his decisions, although not the way some have been reported. He is accused of hitting his ex-girlfriend, and there is never an excuse for doing that if the allegations are true. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Officially Indicted. Read The Report)

The amount of attention the polarizing Texas native receives is so out of control that he had to wear a disguise while in Las Vegas.

Johnny Manziel Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports - via Reuters

Johnny Manziel Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports – via Reuters

The media never hesitated to blame or write stories about his vast resources and wealth. They willfully painted this picture of a spoiled kid that came from rarefied air, and thus, the money was responsible for his downfall instead of the media.

The reality of the situation is there are more wealthy young people in America than there are famous individuals. Yet, nobody knows their names and they aren’t constantly on national news outlets. It was the unnecessary attention surrounding a teenager for doing things not unusual for somebody his age or resources that played a massive role in the outcome of his career.

Perhaps the media should accept the fact that Johnny Manziel’s downfall was instigated, or at least accelerated, by the fact the they built up the myth of his villainous actions.

Follow David on Twitter and Facebook