Johnny Arrogant will play by his rules ... for now

Posted Tuesday, Sep. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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engel There is an uncomfortable truth far greater than just the personal, and most likely unintentional, assault currently being staged against the NCAA by Johnny Football Inc.

The NCAA was founded on the ideals of fairness, much like our great country, and then in practice we learn that so little in life is actually fair.

Pursuing equality and fairness is admirable and a necessity, only until it gets right in the way of what we want. That’s when there are issues.

Why would we prefer if Johnny Football didn’t party it up, act like a spoiled brat, taunt opponents and get away with it? Because 99 percent of us would never get away with it.

Should Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, athletic director Eric Hyman and others admonish Johnny Arrogant for his brash behaviors? They can try, and reportedly have. The problem is everyone knows the score — the tail wags the dog in College Station, and a lot of other places around sports, and in life.

The special players, producers, and the well born, receive special treatment. Johnny, right now, is all three. That’s a tough trio to deal with.

For people such as Johnny Football, most likely the boss of the company you work for, their boss, and a .02 of others the rules simply do not apply. They know it, too. When society tries to enforce the same rules and restrictions to the special people, they spend their way around it, lawyer up, and just keep going on about their business of doing whatever the hell they want.

For instance, the late Apple founder Steve Jobs reportedly never had a license plate for his cars.

It was well known when former Mariners and Reds star outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. played there was the team’s batting practice, and “Junior BP.” The name “Brett Favre” should be added to Roget’s Thesaurus as a synonym for double standards.

Did you notice how when not long after the Wall Street crash of 2008 not a single one of the major power brokers involved in the major investment houses, or the government agencies that “regulate” these firms, were found to have committed a single crime?

These men were getting re-hired by different houses while millions were left to sell their own.

These behaviors violate what we are told since we were kids — follow the rules, obey the law, be a good teammate. It all makes sense until we see the kid on the playground who gets away with it cutting in line on slide because he is bigger.

From a young age we are taught about the consequences of violating rules, and are sent to timeout, the thinking chair, etc. Then we learn there are those for whom the rules, for whatever the reason, simply do not apply.

Ask a friend who attended Big State School X who took a class with a high profile athlete-student if they ever saw these guys actually attend class. The answer is often no, yet eligibility is seldom an issue.

In college, it’s all good for Johnny Manziel because he is too good. He knows it.

Life has a way of providing its own market correction for all of us; the problem is the punishment does not always fit the “crime” in our eyes. We desperately want those who didn’t follow the rules “to get theirs,” but sometimes not even that happens.

Manziel comes from a well-to-do family, so even if he falls his landing will be a bit soft. Or it should be.

Chances are good when Johnny Manziel runs to the NFL after this season, which all signs point to his inevitable escape of the town where he will come to regret taking for granted for treating him like a God, he’s going to get in the NFL.

In the past week former top 10 overall draft picks Vince Young and Matt Leinart were both cut by their respective NFL teams. They were cut as backups, and are likely done in the NFL. These men owned their respective college campuses when they played at Texas and USC. And Leinart “played by the rules” when he was at ’SC … if they actually had any under Pete Carroll.

The defenders that Manziel so merrily averts in college usually are discovered by NFL linebackers and turned into lunch meat. The best athletes in college are more on offense whereas in the NFL they are all on defense. They can catch, and they kill.

The closest thing Manziel is going to see to this is when Alabama comes to College Station on Sept. 14 in what has to be the biggest party this town has seen since Varsity’s horns were sawed off.

He beat ’em once last year, which is when the real enabling began. It was then Johnny learned how exploitative some of these rules are (see NCAA), and when he entered that rare place for the .02 percent.

We can criticize and hate on Johnny, but the truth is a great many of us would simply love it if the rules didn’t apply to us either.

Mac Engel, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @macengelprof

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