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Johnny Manziel, SEC Media Days, and seagulls following a trawler

This is all that's left of Johnny Football until football season.


1. You're gonna have to move. The door is blocked, and you are going to have to move if you want Johnny Manziel to get to that podium. You'll have to sit somewhere on the floor. I count no fewer than 43 camera lenses, and at least a hundred reporters, media people, and TV reporters.

He drinks water. This is now a GIF on the internet. This is news.


Courtesy of Brian McAlister at

2. This is where Johnny Manziel is. He is measuring his words. He is well-coached and repeats a lot of the same answers to slightly different variations of questions he hears over and over again. He overslept at the Manning Camp and was not drinking the night before. His life, and the past year, is "crazy," a word he will repeat over and over and over again.

He says it at least five times in one session and then reels through the same drill in the next room and then again in the main room.

3. This reaches some kind of critical mass in the main room. Manziel is camped in the back right corner of the Wynfrey Ballroom. Texas A&M's SIDs lead-block through the crowd. He wonders out loud if he's like Justin Bieber. He mentions meeting Drake and LeBron James. He's asked if he's talked to Tim Tebow, for some reason. Manziel says he got a voicemail and needs to call him back.

On TV, out in the lobby where ESPN has a full studio setup right where the Coke machines and coffee used to stand, professional take-ghoul Paul Finebaum suggests Kevin Sumlin embarrassed the Texas A&M program by not talking more about Johnny Manziel. Reporters yell over each other like White House pool reporters. When two talk at once, Manziel chooses with his eyes and answers without pause.

4. Johnny Manziel is 20 years old.

I wanted to ask him if he was the first person who was ever be late for something, mostly because he is 20 years old, and in the same situation at his age most people are sleeping in beds without box springs, destroying microwaves by accidentally leaving forks in them while heating water for ramen, and discovering that things in your house stop working when you don't send strangers in businesses money in the form of checks. His version of this was being candid on Twitter, going around College Station on Halloween in a Scooby-Doo costume, and going courtside at NBA games because ... well, that's what college students do, particularly when they have supernatural athletic talent, bon vivant tendencies, and a smart phone with LeBron and Drake's numbers.

A maypole for ribbons of hot-take bullshit to be wound around.

5. This isn't a postmortem for some imagined innocent tarnished by the vapid, squawking media.

Manziel is media-savvy, well-coached, and has been from the start. That has always been the case, and is even more so now after the 2013 offseason. He can handle it.

He will become more anodyne, less descript. He will say less. He's now something to be tacked on, pivoted around, a maypole for ribbons of hot-take bullshit to be wound around.

6. Eric Cantona was suspended from playing football in the Premier League for kicking an abusive fan in the chest. At the press conference following his suspension in 1995, Cantona made this statement, and then walked out of the room:

When seagulls follow the trawler it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.

From this point forward, Johnny Manziel gives no sardines to the seagulls. That is sad: he's engaging and funny, and yes, possibly a bit spoiled and impulsive, but still unrepentantly himself despite a lot of handling and media coaching.

Now that he's a bullet point on First Take, that's done, and has been for a while now. This is just confirmation that the bubble is up and the fisherman will be stingier with the freebies from this point forward. The seagulls aren't worth the noise, the occasional pecks on the hand, and especially the splattered mess they leave on the decks.

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