Why does the media love to talk so much about Johnny Manziel?
Perhaps because the media rarely gets a chance to talk to Johnny Manziel.
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner didn’t talk to reporters for most of the 2012 regular season — an almost-unheard-of situation for such a high profile player. If not for a big win over Alabama and an absurd 5,116 yards of total offense, he never would have won the Heisman, an award that relies in large part upon publicity and name recognition.
Nature abhors a vacuum and, in the meantime, the media has been more than willing to fill it with all kinds of manufactured news about Manziel. But while the best solution is probably to avoid a bunker mentality and let the rather eloquent sophomore speak for himself — to take control of the narrative, in other words — it appears mum is the word…for now.
Indeed, Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said on Tuesday that his star player will eventually talk, but that now isn’t the right time.
”I think it’s important now based on where he is that his focus is to try to be our quarterback and a student athlete,” Sumlin said. ”That’s his biggest challenge right now. (It’s) not his challenge to be here.
”I don’t think right now that him coming here and saying the words would change some people’s opinion about who he is. At the appropriate time he’ll be able to speak for himself.”
Sumlin is clearly struggling with his wayward pupil and trying his best to get him to see the light about his public behavior. As with most coaches, his first instinct is to shut down media access in these kinds of situations. But the fact that Manziel hasn’t spoken publicly since SEC media days in July hasn’t changed the amount of chatter surrounding him. Not by one iota. If anything, it has caused even his most minor actions to be taken up with a frenzy by the media.
Perhaps a different strategy is needed, one of engagement, not isolation.
Because we all know that, no matter what, Johnny Football will not be ignored.