CultureMap Austin -- There was a time when I didn't feel the least bit sorry for Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the 20-year-old phenom who became the first freshman in history to win the Heisman Trophy. Woe was not Johnny, despite his belly aching over media coverage of his own making.
But there's a difference in riding the train and driving the bus, and the latest round of media coverage has crossed the line.
An elaborately detailed and expertly sourced article on Deadspin takes readers down the Manziel family line, all the way back to 1883 in Syria. As convoluted and corrupt as the Manziel family tree seems to have been more than 100 years ago, it's entirely unfair to pin that on Johnny, who wasn't even born when the vast majority of his ancestors' alleged corruption occurred.
You can't pick your family, and Johnny Football didn't ask to be related to oil wildcatters, cock fighters and cocaine-traffickers. If you'd like to judge him based on that activity, I'd invite you to do a little digging into your own family history. Sure, your great-great grandfather may not have cozied up to Jack Dempsey in a string of questionable business deals. But odds are there'd be a few surprises.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum sits Texas Monthly, which has dedicated its September cover to a Superman version of Johnny Football. There's certainly room for Lone Star State bravado when it comes to pigskin, but it hardly seems appropriate to put the kid on an even greater pedestal just days after serious NCAA violation allegations.