“Johnny Football” Fumble

johnny manziel

Tupac Shakur proclaimed ” Will I survive, will I die? Come on let’s picture the possibility”. This proclamation is an excerpt from his song entitled: “All Eyez On Me”, which was Tupac’s opus to the world in explaining how he felt he was being judged unfairly or otherwise according to perception. I for one, always feared for Tupac’s safety long before his infamous east coast versus west coast verbal exchange with the late Christopher Wallace; in fact I feared for his life long before he was ambushed at a N.Y.C recording studio where he was shot five times. My fear was of a thing I commonly refer to as “the light” which is short for the word limelight. We heard the old lady begging Carole Ann in the movie Poltergeist, “Do not go into the light”, as she tried to steer the young girl away from the evil spirits that were seeking to inhabit her body. I, for one, see the same parity of evil as it pertains to “the light” associated with fame, stardom and notoriety. We saw Tupac basically salute a middle finger to the media and behave as a defiant rebel, often taunting/daring those who wanted him to become less of a polarizing figure. From all accounts of his legendary, yet provocative life, it has been well documented that Tupac Shakur’s persona was not one that could be thwarted or succumbed to virtual silence. In fact one could speculate that his image helped to load the bullets into the guns that ultimately led to his unfortunate death. There’s a price tag on fame, yet an even greater expense to being infamous. Infamous is being flirtatious with something far beyond the autographs and photography barrage. Infamous tempts the devil and disregards the evil side of fame, which is hate. Good fans dehumanize the star/starlet from the concept of, fixating on their personal perception of what they believe that individual(s) to be like. The flip side is the bad fan; which is the obsessive, vindictive, hatred driven individual who seeks to not only to dehumanize but to also demoralize as well. In looking at the recent reports surrounding current Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel a.k.a Johnny Football, I find eerie similarities in his approach to “the light” to that of the late Tupac Shakur. Both of these individuals have little to no background that would suggest that their upbringings mirror one another, as Manziel comes from an affluent background, as opposed to Shakur’s single parenting breeding that saw him birthed behind bars. What is similar is the fact that they both have performed on a stage that garners a lot of celebrity attention due to their high accomplishments in their individual fields. They also share a love for poking an un-caged lion while wearing a vest covered in raw meat. We cannot question their intellectual prowess, as they are both articulate, educated and extremely self-aware. But I would be reckless in not saying that articulate, educated and self aware people, also border on self destructive behavior. We saw this in Jimmy Hendrix, Curt Cobain and Jim Morrison, all geniuses bordering on a shadowy overcast of a darken realm. Johnny Manziel has been living in “the light”, as recent reports of possible alcohol abuse (underaged), visits to rival frat parties, misdemeanor assault charge and hanging with A-list celebrities, has began to cause an eye raising level of concern from his family. They claim that the person they once knew has changed drastically, as he is no longer referring to himself as John Manziel, but has become the embodiment of his alter ego “Johnny Football”. Such a scary notion, to lose oneself in the third person, while stripping away the foundational roots of the very substance that created you. A hefty price to pay for fame, especially when you are blinded by “the light” of success.

Johnny Manziel is an unstoppable force on the field who knows how to protect the football; however on the field of life he is fumbling the ball consistently. With allegations of NCAA violations pertaining to profiting from autograph signings, we are now seeing a pattern of self destructive behavior. Couple this latest, with the squirmishes at frat parties and underage drinking and we are seeing a powder keg surrounded by dancing sparks of flames. “Will I survive, will I die” an immortal retort by a man who found out that death is a real option when living in “the light”. Perhaps Johnny Manziel will heed the advise of Tupac’s opus and begin to understand the difference between fame and infamy and learn that life is not played on an artificial turf. Maybe then he will avoid the poltergeists and remember “do not go into the light” because all eyes are on him. #2pacalypse

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