An autograph broker approached Johnny Manziel about signing some things before Texas A&M's game against Alabama last season, ESPN's Joe Schad reported Monday, and the broker provided a photo as evidence. The broker says he did not pay Manziel any money for the signatures.
Manziel has gone on record with his account of how that situation occurred. If his version is accurate, the broker essentially forced his way into the hotel room of Manziel and his roommate, putting the eventual Heisman winner in an awkward position.
"Alabama game, a guy walks into my hotel room with me," Manziel said. "I opened the door. I had a big bag on my shoulder. I opened the door real wide -- he kind of sticks his foot in the door. He kind of comes in with me. 'Hey man, will you sign this bag of stuff?'"
"Swope was like, 'Hey, man. What are you doing in here?'" Manziel said. "He said 'Oh, he said he would sign some stuff for me.' I'm like, 'I mean, I didn't really say I would sign it for you. But I'll do it for you. Get the hell out and it won't be too big of a deal.'"
This story was told before the more recent allegations that Manziel accepted payment for an autograph session in Miami during the week of the BCS title game. The report released by ESPN Sunday alleges that Manziel received a five-figure flat fee for signing various photos and memorabilia on that occasion, and although there is no substantive evidence of wrongdoing at this point, the NCAA has launched an investigation.
The incident with the broker during the week of the Texas A&M-Alabama game is entirely unrelated to the January autograph session in Miami and occurred months beforehand; it is not a part of the NCAA's inquiry. Notably, Manziel has complained about signing autographs to several national outlets this year, including Sports Illustrated and ESPN. If this story of the broker in Alabama is true, it's not hard to understand why.