Category Archives: WOAH! It’s Johnny Football!

This is why you leave amateurism to the professionals.

Bruce Feldman has a fascinating piece up about why memorabilia dealers may have it in for Johnny Football.  It seems they’re not real happy about the Manziels trying to cut themselves in for some of the sweet action.

“When his family filed to patent his name, ‘Johnny Football,’ all of us dealers, and I’m talking like 500 of us, had items on eBay related to Johnny Manziel,” Rudolph told Wednesday. “They weren’t necessarily signed by him. I had Heisman programs from where he won the Heisman. So on that listing it would say, ‘Johnny Manziel, Johnny Football, Texas A&M Heisman Program.’ eBay swiped across the country and took all of those items down. All of ’em. And, in addition to that, they banned everyone who had done it for two weeks. No prior warning or nothing.

“I had 400 items up. I had six or eight related to Manziel and they pulled all of ’em. I called [eBay]. I said, ‘I’ve never had any trouble on eBay whatsoever.’ They said, ‘This is a legal thing and you violated a legal code so you’re suspended for two weeks.’ For me, I’m small time. That was an irritating thing because for two weeks, I couldn’t sell anything. I am quite sure for people whose livelihood are this business, that was crippling.

“If there’s anybody who has an ax to grind, pick any of those people.”

Meanwhile, there are schools like Ohio State and South Carolina scrambling to declare that their star players whose autographs are being sold in bulk on eBay are as pure as the driven snow.  Of course, back in the real world…

Rudolph says his company has paid many pro athletes for the signing of items, but says when it comes to college athletes, “it gets a little sketchy. … we’ve had arrangements to sign memorabilia for us as soon as their bowl game ends. We have many bowl games down here in Florida. It may be two hours after the game ends, we’re gonna meet at this hotel room. We’ll buy their used game jerseys, their cleats. They’ll sign stuff for us. That’s a gray area because the moment they’re signing and getting their money, their eligibility is done, but when the arrangement is made before their eligibility. … that’s what I can say. I have never had a paid signing with an eligible player, but I know that is going on all the time. All the time.”

It’s probably just a bunch third-sting offensive tackles looking for a little extra jack before stardom doing that.

The sleaze is palpable.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, WOAH! It's Johnny Football!

Johnny Football and the NCAA

Some random thoughts on Autographgate:

  • Proof is in the pudding.  The NCAA has reason to suspect – probably even good reason to suspect – that something fishy went on.  But as Stewart Mandel points out, suspicion is a long way from proof, especially for the NCAA these days:

    However, the NCAA cannot suspend a player on mere suspicion. It needs hard proof. Even before the Miami misconduct scandal that led to a mass exodus of its top investigators, the NCAA’s enforcement department has done little to inspire confidence it can get to the bottom of such matters. This particular situation, however, may be fairly cut-and-dried.

    As a current NCAA athlete, Manziel is required to cooperate with investigators or risk forfeiting his eligibility (see: Maurice Clarett and Dez Bryant). That includes supplying bank records if asked. If there’s a mysterious deposit somewhere, he’ll have to explain it.

    First, keep in mind that no one claims to have seen any compensation pass between the two.  But even if it did, what if Manziel was smart enough to get paid in cash?  If the autograph broker refuses to cooperate and there’s no such mysterious deposit, what’s the NCAA got left?

  • Fine for me, not for thee.  It seems to me that there’s a real risk for the NCAA that this matter turns a bright spotlight on the unfairness of letting schools profit off a student-athlete’s likeness while denying the same opportunity to the student-athlete.  From the ESPN article that broke the news:  “The value of Manziel is clear in the memorabilia and appearance market: Independent merchandiser Aggieland Outfitters recently auctioned off six helmets signed by Manziel and Texas A&M’s other Heisman Trophy winner, John David Crow, for $81,000. Texas A&M’s booster organization, the 12th Man Foundation, sold a table for six, where Manziel and Crow will sit at the team’s Kickoff Dinner later this month, for $20,000.”
  • Mr. Conventional Wisdom’s selective memory.  I could not believe that Tony Barnhart actually compared Manziel’s situation to Herschel Walker without noting the circumstances surrounding Herschel’s early departure from Georgia in 1983.  Walker’s agent at the time, you may recall, initiated contact with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL, an action which cost Walker his last year of college eligibility.  What may not be so easily remembered, though, was that the USFL prohibited contact with college undergraduates.  Presented with the fait accompli, the league folded on enforcing that rule because, according to its president, “… faced with lawsuits on the league’s denying a person the right to make a living, he considered it fruitless to challenge the arrangements made by Walker with the Generals.”

Meanwhile, somewhere in this great land of ours, Cecil Newton is chuckling.


Filed under The NCAA, WOAH! It's Johnny Football!

Next, on the SEC Network

If Johnny Manziel ever appears on Finebaum’s show, the results are guaranteed to be awesome.


Filed under PAWWWLLL!!!, WOAH! It's Johnny Football!

Can’t take your eyes off him.

Hackish lede of the weekend:

Unlike Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel, MTSU quarterback Logan Kilgore has taken advantage of his invitations to be a counselor at the prestigious Manning Passing Academy.

So, while the Texas A&M quarterback was making national news for being dismissed from camp for reportedly sleeping late and missing assignments, it was Kilgore who joined 120 or so counselors in working with some 1,200 high school quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end prospects from around the country from July 11-14.

Geez, I can think of plenty of other ways in which Kilgore and Manziel will not be alike.  Give it a rest, okay?


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, WOAH! It's Johnny Football!

Look out, boys. There’s a new GPOOE™ in town.

I kinda, sorta knew Johnny Manziel was a big deal.  I didn’t realize he’s this big a deal, though.

By one measure — sheer numbers — Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel steps onto the podium Wednesday morning at SEC Media Days as the biggest celebrity college football has ever seen. Ever.

He has played one season, beaten one No. 1 Alabama, and won one Heisman Trophy. Yet you can make the case that no college player in the history of the game — not Red Grange, not Archie Griffin, not Tim Tebow, not anyone — has bathed in the heat of the American spotlight the way that Manziel has.

Maisel bases this on Tweeter followers, which I think is a little silly.  But it’s hard to argue that Johnny Football isn’t sucking most of the media’s oxygen out of the room these days.  I expect ESPN (PAWWWWWL!) will be falling all over itself with Manziel coverage at SEC Media Days.

But still, bigger than Tebow?  Anybody else feeling that?


Filed under Tim Tebow: Rock Star, WOAH! It's Johnny Football!