Sunday, August 4th, 2013. The eve of fall camp was a day we all thought would be one that came and went with very little consequence. Oh how naive we were after the offseason that had just taken place. Everyone's favorite Twitter-troll Darren Rovell dropped a bomb early Sunday evening by reporting the Johnny Manziel is under NCAA investigation for profiting off of a rumored autograph session during his trip to Florida for the BCS National Championship in January.
If you have the stomach to read the article (not because it's about Manziel, but because Rovell wrote it) you surely saw a bunch of words, but absolutely no evidence. This rhetoric falls eloquently in line with the warpath that ESPN has been on since the offseason began. There are a lot of words, a lot of speculation, a lot of painting a picture of a kid guilty of doing nothing yet somehow bringing shame to the game. What you definitely don't see in the report is any shred of evidence or credibility. None. I honestly cannot say I am even remotely shocked. This report coming from a guy that got duped by a teenager with a fake escort service is really all you need to know. Look, when a guy is a running joke among the public, you probably should take anything he says with a grain of salt (see: Rovell's Century of Legendary Tweets).
Here's my reaction to what we know so far. ESPN clearly has an agenda here, and we should all know by now that they don't stop with an agenda until they have accomplished their mission. On the night before Fall Camp starts for the Aggies, they run a story with absolutely no credible evidence against a student-athlete they have been targeting and profiting from since August 2012. How many times has "Johnny Manziel" been mentioned on SportsCenter since January? Just how much money has ESPN made off of Manziel in the past 11 months? While other student-athletes are sucker-punching people in bar fights and getting arrested for sexual assault and drug possession, Johnny Manziel is being indicted on the charges of Guilty of Being a Celebrity by the very same sports "news" outlet that made him a celebrity.
Let's get down to brass tacks. The Manziels aren't hurting for money, and this is hardly a news item. We're talking about five figures here to sign hundreds of items. Yeah, that amount of money hardly makes the time worth it for a guy like Manziel with the resources he has. Do we need to mention the most glaring thing in the article? This is a complete hitjob based on a report that he signed things for money, yet somehow the sources witnessed the signing and not the exchange of money? Yes, that makes perfect sense. Surely the fine individuals involved here would handle everything about this supposed shady situation with plenty of witnesses around, and then somehow completely hide the exchange of money. Boy, this is really following the storyline of other Rovell stories that come to absolutely nothing.
Any way you look at, the damage has once again been done. We live in a time where we only care about the viral breaking news that we see. Nobody reads the retractions. Nobody reads the edits. Nobody cares about a name being cleared. So congratulations on that ESPN. You're one step closer to ruining a kid that has made you millions while you continue to profit from him. In case you don't believe this, Rovell took to Twitter to explain that yeah, there's no evidence while not mentioning this anywhere in his original article. Don't worry, he's known to go back and edit his original articles long after the fact. How is this even acceptable? Rovell and ESPN apparently find it completely acceptable to draw a guilty verdict before any journalism takes place, or before any evidence is found (or God forbid, vetted).
Word of caution on NCAA investigation on Manziel: They still have to find compelling evidence to suspend him. Might not be easy.— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) August 4, 2013
Oh, and on another note. Can we please get Uncle Nate out of Manziel's inner circle? I'm sure there are several hundred marketing grad students at A&M (not to mention those that do this kind of thing for a living) that would love to be hired to take over this responsibility and you know, actually know what the hell they are doing.
You suck offseason. I'm glad you're dead tomorrow.