Texas A&M chancellor John Sharp defendend Johnny Manziel and criticized ESPN in an email to the university community and business leaders Wednesday, according to a report by Suzanne Halliburton of the Austin Statesman. Sharp reiterated his support for last year's Heisman Trophy winner, then turned his attention to ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell:
Sharp led off the email with link a link to a story publicizing his recent comments supporting Manziel. He said that his comments were his "personal" view and his motivation was because of the "ongoing and productive dialogue with the NCAA during their investigation, as required."
Sharp wrote that "Rovell ... has been duped before." He then linked to a correction Rovell issued when he was working for CNBC.
Halliburton's report does not include any details on the Rovell correction referenced. However, in late 2011, Rovell notoriously published a report on a New York escort service harmed by the NBA lockout, a report that was based on email conversations with a high school kid pulling a prank. Rovell admitted he had been "duped" and apologized to his readers.
Sharp also attacked Florida-based memorabilia dealer Drew Tieman, who told ESPN that he paid Manziel a "five-figure signing fee" for hundreds of autographed items. Sharp again attacked ESPN for publishing the claims:
He wrote: "It is surprising that the nation's largest sports channel would support publication with this lack of corroboration."
Manziel is rumored to be under investigation by the NCAA for allegedly selling autographs over the offseason. Texas A&M starts their 2013 campaign against Rice on Saturday, Aug. 31. Manziel is expected to play.