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Battalion, Be Thankful

An open response to the "Johnny, Be Gone" editorial posted in The Battalion on 6/18/13.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Here at Good Bull Hunting, there are no delusions of grandeur. We're just a collective of asshat fans who really, really like watching Aggie sports because - well, we're former students. Furthermore, we're former students with an internet connection and way too much free time on our hands, apparently.

I respect the guys and gals over at The Battalion because they're students who are willing to take time and hone their craft as journalists at a school who once had no journalism program to speak of. We need more Aggie writers out there, please keep at it.

Quick admission, I haven't picked up a copy of the Batt since I left campus in 2004. I think I've read an article here and there online, but I'm not currently familiar with their work - the exception being this article. I have taken excerpts (I deleted a few lines) and pasted them below.

To the student who wrote this piece: I mean you no ill will. I just believe that your haste to write an article in the paper about this other current student, urging him to leave campus for posting on social media (LIKE EVERY SINGLE STUDENT DOES WITH THE LUXURY OF KNOWING THAT THE ENTIRETY OF THE SPORTS MEDIA WORLD DOES NOT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT WHAT YOU DO IN LIFE) is a little more harsh than a deleted tweet about the petty nuisances (nee bullshit) that accompany living in a college town. Surely you can understand the difference between wanting to get the hell out of a town and leaving a school and its fanbase behind while shooting the double bird.

With that being said, in the words of Jules Winnfield, "Oh! Well allow me to retort!"

"Johnny Football has finally made an uncalculated mistake that will have ramifications."

A bit overstating the issue here. The guy put out a tweet at 2AM. There will be ramifications, sure. But this doesn't matter. I'll say it again because I think you are giving more credit to the sports media world than it deserves. It. Doesn't. Matter.

See, we're in this magical place called "The Offseason." The Offseason is a place in which nothing is going on, so EVERYTHING is going on. That's right, Ags. Remember when we had no coverage? Remember when we were dying for some recognition? Well, this is what happens when you get recognition. You can't have it both ways. Don't sit here and tell the guy that helped bring said coverage and recognition to this campus that he needs to GTFO.

"Monday morning his tweet was the focus of SportsCenter's centerpiece story. His message also made the front pages of Yahoo!, ESPN and countless other websites."

Read the above two sentences again. Really read them. I think this says more about the state of sports media than it does about Johnny. He realized what he had done, deleted the tweet and reminded all of you that he loves A&M "with all [his] heart." Who hasn't said something they regret in the past because of anger? Well, imagine it being plastered all over TV, radio and the blogosphere. I don't care what you're imagining, it's probably worse in real life.

"Being just the latest stunt he has pulled since the last football season ended, Manziel has answered the questions we've all wondered. He wants out of College Station and out of Texas A&M en route to what he deems bigger and better things."

Talk about twisting words. He was talking about the town, and let's be honest, there is a plethora of bullshit in college towns (outlined here and here) to complain about. Stunts? What stunts? Living his life, just having it plastered all over the media? Why should the guy change who he is? Because it's different than yours or mine?

Granted, as Uncle Ben told Peter Parker, "With great power comes great responsibility." Johnny should know that every move he makes will be scrutinized to the utmost extent, and that is multiplied when he voluntarily offers information on Twitter. Even if he deletes a stupid 2 AM tweet, it's going to be analyzed to the extent of an atom smashed in the LHC. He needs an elephant-sized dose of social media Immodium for his Twitterrhea. Also, if you were a potential first-rounder in the NFL Draft, wouldn't you be thinking "I can't wait to leave College Station (and its associated bullshit) when the time was right?"

"It's time to send Johnny Football down the proverbial one-year hallway in the house that is Texas A&M and straight out the front door."

Talk about a "what have you done for me lately" mentality. How much money have you made for Texas A&M? Your tuition and associated payments for refreshments at sporting events. You wanna venture a guess to the fiscal footprint Johnny Football has left on the university? Walk out on campus today and count the #2 jerseys you see. When I was on campus, you could only buy #12. Guess what, there's only one #2, his name is Johnny Manziel and he hasn't seen a dime from those. What about that season? What about the Heisman? What about the recruiting impact he's had? You wanna kick this guy out, what about the drunk a-hole on Northgate talking about the same "bullshit" he's encountered in College Station? Wanna kick him out, too?

Manziel's tweet suggested something happened to make him think this way.

Yeah, and as we later learned from his roommate, it was a couple of tickets; one for parking and one for an illegal tint job on his Mercedes. I can't tell you how many times I got tickets from CSPD or PTTS for parking. I can tell you that if Twitter existed and were I Johnny Football, much more harsh things would have been stupidly tweeted by my 18-22 year-old self. That, I believe, qualifies as some College Station bullshit. It is possible to love the school, the culture and the student body while hating the town. Trust me.

A day in Manziel's shoes would equal a lifetime for many of us "regular" people. His affection for the school will not go unnoticed, but with this latest headline it's time to begin looking at life without the only freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

You know, I thought that, too. Right after reading about the tweet I believe my words to a group of friends were "Johnny, I'll trade you your age, athletic ability and fame for my 31 year-old body and struggling startup straight up." Then, I thought about it. Being famous and rich looks fun until you really try to put yourself in their shoes.

Last night I saw "This is the End." In the opening scene Seth Rogan is waiting for his buddy Jay at the airport. People randomly yelling "WHAT UP, SETH!" and having video cameras shoved in his face immediately made me think "That would blow super hard." I know; I'm really eloquent in my thoughts. So, take that kind of celebrity out of Los Angeles and put it in a town of 250,000 people. Yeah, it's much worse.

Johnny can't say or do anything without wondering how it could possibly be interpreted, because it will always be interpreted in the worst way possible. I'm not saying that his life is shitty, but really think about the tradeoffs here. You'd have to give up privacy. And I'm not talking about "the NSA occasionally reading your e-mails" loss of privacy, I'm talking about "Why in the hell do people care that I root for X sports team" loss of privacy. The "TexAgs is posting pictures of my girlfriend and analyzing her ‘hotness'" loss of privacy. Tweets go out to the whole world, for sure. But everything this kid has done since this season has been "fair game" for the talking heads in the sports world, and that has to suck like deep-throating a Saturn V.



"For months critics have bantered back-and-forth on Manziel's NFL status. Because he was redshirted in his first year at A&M, he can declare for the NFL after this coming football season."

They also have several articles citing "sources" claiming all kinds of absurdity.

He could also stay at A&M for as many as two more years.

Aggies can only hope and pray that he does.

Those hopes were all but crushed when he opted to tweet after midnight on a Saturday, which is surely a bad idea in the unwritten Twitter rulebook for people with more than 1,000 followers. Manziel has 368,000.

Your hopes weren't crushed if you read the entire tweet. He said "Whenever that may be" meaning he's in this for as long as it takes, but can't wait to get out of the town.

I can agree that tweeting at 2AM is perilous. I think some of the Manziel family money might be well spent hiring 2 social media interns at $10/hour for 20 hours per week. They could post quotes from him at the beginning of each week about his practice schedule, what he's working on, some motivational sayings he likes and maybe his commentary on the pro sports he enjoys and just run them on auto-pilot in HootSuite. Have a "Goodnight, God bless and Gig ‘em" post to run at 10:30 every night so Skip Bayless can rest assured that this particular 20 year-old athlete is tucked in his Scooby Doo sheets before curfew and be done with it.

All of this does not mean that as fans, students and faculty we cannot appreciate what he has done. It is due in large part to Manziel's Heisman-winning season that the A&M football program is more relevant than it has ever been in more than 100 years of activity.

Now you get to this? Now? Your headline is "Johnny, Be Gone." That says enough about how quickly you dismissed his glowing resume for a 140 character lapse in judgment.

Coach Kevin Sumlin has the top recruiting class in the nation and he is able to sell those recruits on the fact that they too can win a Heisman Trophy wearing the Maroon and White.

University President R. Bowen Loftin and the A&M marketing team is using this success to promote the school academically and applications are at an all-time high.

And you think "Thanks, Johnny Football but get the hell out" will reinforce that?

A&M will begin construction several months from now on a $430 million renovation to Kyle Field. The new stadium will feature statues surrounding the walkways and one can believe Manziel may have one of his own someday.

His accomplishments are noted but no matter the outcome of the promising 2013 season it is time to watch Manziel ride off into the sunset. Johnny Football wants out and as a selfish observer, I want him out as well.

Again, you're twisting his words and valuing one tweet over another. I suggest you quit watching SportsCenter and FirstTake now.

I want to know if he can succeed in his second season, trying to live up to the hype. From there I want to see if he can be the latest Aggie taken in the NFL draft. I'm interested to see what Manziel can do as a professional quarterback.

But he needs to leave?

But most importantly I want to see how Kevin Sumlin and the other 100 players on the Texas A&M roster prove that all of this wasn't just the Johnny Manziel show and that A&M as a program can contend for years to come.

It was definitely a team effort, but a once-in-a-lifetime, mutant quarterback was this teams confidence booster. They knew that if Johnny was out there playing, they had to play to his level. Why would you want last season any other way? This team will go on to more success in the coming years. Sumlin is an amazing coach and recruiter and those benefits will carry on, but don't kick out the catalyst.

Sean, I am not attacking you. I'm positive you and I would get along swimmingly and I'd love to sit down and have a beer with ya. I do, however, think your article resembles what Johnny did. It's reactionary. So is this piece. The thing is, neither you nor I have to worry about what the entirety of the sports media thinks about it. I read one author today refer to Johnny Manziel as the "Kim Kardashian of college sports." No offense to Kim, but that's a tad harsh. Johnny doesn't ask the media to report on his every move, they do it because they've got nothing better to talk about for 24 hours.

It's much like the "news" we get on all the 24 hour networks. It's not news or reporting anymore, it's about the creation of unnecessary drama to garner ratings. Johnny's tweet may have offended your undying love for the town of College Station, but it was just that. A stupid tweet. Blowing it out of proportion in comparison to what he means to Texas A&M feeds that engine (he says after penning a 2,000 + word response to your response to said tweet).

In conclusion, we're all holding Johnny to standards 99% of us would be unable to adhere to. Let's just let the kid do his thing and enjoy the remaining time we have to watch him quarterback the Aggies.