True or not, “Outside the Lines'” story last night alleging Texas A&M quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel signed memorabilia in exchange for a five-figure payment this past January is apparently just the beginning.
Following up on that report, ESPN’s Joe Schad added today that another autograph broker says Manziel’s friend and personal assistant (who we can only hope carries the title of “Assistant to the Heisman winner“) said Manziel would “no longer be signing autographs for him without compensation*.”
More from Schad’s report:
The broker, who spoke to Schad under the condition of anonymity, said that Manziel signed about 50 items for him at the Texas A&M team hotel the night before the Nov. 10 Texas A&M at Alabama game. The person said that Manziel then signed about 200 more items a few days later, with the broker saying he did not compensate Manziel for either of those sessions.
Besides saying that Manziel would no longer sign autographs for free, Fitch, according to the broker, also said he could provide other current standout college football players for autograph sessions in which the players would need to be paid.
For what it’s worth, here’s the picture the broker says he took of Manziel signing memorabilia. It should be noted again that, according to the broker, Manziel was not compensated for the autographs he signed.
OTL’s report claims Manziel may have taken money in exchange for his signature. That would rest the responsibility solely on Manziel’s shoulders, if true. Schad’s report, however, creates a possibly different angle involving Manziel’s assistant. As was noted yesterday, the Cam Newton rule could possibly extend the definition of an agent acting on Manziel’s behalf to, say, his family or friends. That would in all likelihood include Manziel’s friend/assistant.
(It also probably means, no matter the outcome, Manziel ditches his friend/assistant as soon as possible.)
But Manziel’s friend doesn’t have to cooperate with the NCAA like Manziel does. Neither does the broker, who Schad reports has not returned numerous calls from the NCAA. In fact, no one other than Manziel has to open their records for the NCAA, which could make the Association’s job far more difficult if it wants to pin down some hard evidence that isn’t directly in Manziel’s bank statements.