Wright Thompson published his Johnny Manziel feature for ESPN the Magazine. Judging from the story, he interviewed both of Manziel’s parents and had access to him during a round of golf. Here are a few details we found interesting.
Manziel really is living the Entourage life. In addition to his friend named “Turtle,” he already has a personal assistant, a high-school friend named “Uncle Nate,” who dropped out of college to work for him.
Nate dropped out of school this year to act as Johnny’s assistant and manager, handling media requests and helping coordinate the bodyguards from Houston whom Johnny’s parents would like them to hire whenever they go out, making sure there’s someone around to defuse a confrontation before it begins. Leaving the house brings swarms of people and accompanying drama. “We have to have our own security paid for by us,” Nate says, and by “us” he means Johnny’s mom and dad.
His parents wanted to get matching “Johnny F—ing Football” license plates.
His family did too. His parents wanted to get jffmom and jffdad on their license plates — Johnny F — ing Football, as the name was originally coined on the A&M message boards — so caught up in the mania that it took their 17-year-old daughter, Meri, to point out the bad example that might set for the kids who looked up to her brother.
Manziel wasn’t a fan of having a well-known model girlfriend and ended the relationship with Sarah Savage.
Over Easter, he went home with his girlfriend, a model. Her family showed him an online ranking of quarterbacks’ girlfriends, according to Michelle Manziel. Johnny’s girl ranked high on the list, which made him wonder whether she was with him for the reflected glory. Eventually he ended the relationship.
Probably the most concerning thing from the piece is the drinking. Partying is one thing. Drinking to cope with stress, at age 20, is quite another. Which appears to be what his parents suspect and Thompson seems to imply.
They’re concerned. Paul thinks Johnny drinks to deal with the stress. After his arrest, Johnny’s parents and Sumlin mandated he visit an alcohol counselor; Johnny saw him six or seven weeks during the season. About the only place they still see the real him is on the football field. Mostly what they see is the emotional byproduct of whatever is chewing him up inside. “I don’t know where the anger comes from,” Paul says. “I don’t think he knows. If it comes from his drinking, or if he’s mad at himself for not being a better person when he fails, when he fails God and his mom and me. If it makes him angry that he’s got demons in him. You can only speculate because you can’t go in there.”
Thompson also disapproved of his Crown and Sprite order, which he termed an “over grown boy” drink. Had he ordered a Pappy Van Winkle neat, at 20, it would have been a sure sign of his maturity and measured approach to Heisman life.
Overall impressions: Manziel can be immature, irritable and absorbed with his own stress. Fairly normal for a 20-year-old college student. Those traits get exacerbated by the amount of pressure and stress he is under, which is extreme. Even when he goes home to spend time with his family and relax, he has to perform for an ESPN reporter.
Manziel gets the spotlight and backlash from being famous. Those around him reap the benefits.