From Johnny Football to Johnny Paycheck

Posted Friday, Aug. 09, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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galloway And then, so the report goes, Johnny Football became Johnny Paycheck.

Take your rules and shove it.

Allow me to backtrack here.

The way I saw it, and wrote it repeatedly of late, John Manziel had a problem. A Twitter problem. The kid’s a Twitter idiot. But since when is that a major crime?

What had John really done wrong in his celebrity binge that began in January? I saw no NCAA felonies, and certainly no street crimes. (Yes, Manziel’s arrest for a bar fight when he was a true redshirting freshman was noted, but, hey, stuff happens when you are 19 and drinking beer.)

Allow me to also admit, I’m very selfish when it comes to Johnny Football.

I’m in this line of work strictly for the entertainment.

Please, somebody, anybody, in the jock kingdom, just entertain me.

There was no greater sports entertainment in our state last year than Johnny Football’s rise to prominence. Expand that praise to a national scale, and I’d say Johnny also claimed that title.

This kid was a hoot. An overnight roman candle who Saturday after Saturday kept lighting up a maroon sky.

But this week, of course, has been rough on Johnny.

Did he take money from autograph brokers? A five-figure payoff says one of those brokers. Seventy-five hundred was his take, says another, who also quoted Johnny as saying he needed the cash to buy rims for his new Mercedes.

What does the NCAA do now? Investigate, yes. Try to prove Johnny broke a major rule? Well, maybe.

I would suggest the last thing the NCAA wants to do is take down the face of college football. That’s the way the NCAA works. If it’s Dez Bryant being shut down for a season for lying about a lunch with Deion, that’s because Dez played at Oklahoma State and was an easy, convenient target.

This is Johnny Bleeping Football we are talking about.

New season on the way, and the king of college football is wanted on the field, certainly wanted by the game’s TV partners, who put top dollar into the hip pocket of schools.

Cam Newton was never taken down by the NCAA, and he skated for some of the same reasons we are talking about here.

Unless there’s a money trail, and proof of cash charging hands, I doubt the NCAA touches Johnny. But if the Johnny trash keeps piling up high enough at the NCAA door, maybe there is no choice. Like it not, the NCAA will have to act.

But even as Johnny’s Biggest Fan, there’s also a national trend brewing in the media that makes no sense.

Johnny looks like a joke — a rebel without a clue — if you believe the ticket brokers. He was flaunting the rules.

True or not, it still doesn’t make him the poster boy for the long-standing debate over the right of college athletes, particularly football and basketball players, to be legally paid for their contribution to a school’s fat bottom line.

There are players who deserve to be paid because of family situations. Johnny’s parents, of course, don’t have a financial issue. Therefore, neither does Johnny.

Based on a couple of national stories hitting print recently, Johnny’s parents do have an issue, but it’s not financial. I think these parents want to be college football’s version of the Kardashians. But that’s another story.

Strangely enough, Johnny is now being hailed by many as the guy who might bring down the NCAA or, better yet, expose the hypocrisy of the NCAA.

The NCAA. Hypocrisy.

Those two have always been a perfect fit.

I’m all for exposing it.

But Johnny?

If the autograph brokers are telling the truth, Johnny is just a kid who doesn’t give a damn.

For personal entertainment purposes, I want him back on the field in about three weeks, and I want him to stay on the field.

Yes, even if Johnny Football has become Johnny Paycheck.

You can bet the NCAA agrees with me on that.

Take your rules and shove it.

Except exactly how much more of a shove can the NCAA tolerate?

Randy Galloway can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on Galloway & Co. on ESPN/103.3 FM.

Randy Galloway, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @sportsdfw

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