By Matt Johnson

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Once again Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel finds his way into the spotlight for something that happened off-the-field, and the NCAA has plenty to say about it. It was revealed on Monday that the NCAA is investigating Manziel for accepting money to sign autographs and depending on what they find, it could put Manziel’s season in jeopardy.

In 2012, Manziel electrified the college football world last season while leading the Aggies to an 11-2 record including a Cotton Bowl win against the Oklahoma Sooners. He also became the first redshirt freshman to win the Heisman Trophy and many thought this was just the beginning for the young superstar.

Unfortunately, all of the great story lines and praise didn’t last long as the 20-year-old star quickly found himself in the news for his partying, drinking and missing the Manning Camp.

There are several stories that show Johnny Manziel off-the-field, stories about him drinking at parties and even more recently getting kicked out of a University of Texas frat party. The biggest headline though until today may have come in early July when Manziel was kicked out of Manning Passing Academy.

The report indicated that Manziel missed several meetings held at the camp and seemed to be suffering from a hangover on Saturday. Not only was it a further indication of his drinking problems but also seen as an insult to the Manning family and another knock on Manziel’s future draft stock.

There has been a lot of concern regarding Manziel and his well-being, but until a few weeks ago nobody really knew how much concern there was until Manziel’s father came out and spoke.

Just a few days ago Manziel’s father came out in an interview with ESPN and shared his concern for his young son. It really gave an in-depth look to the inside of Manziel and his family and the concern that is really there. ”It could come unraveled. And when it does, it’s gonna be bad. Real bad.”

When asked about Manziel’s anger Paul Manziel told ESPN  ”I don’t think he knows. If it comes from his drinking, or if he’s mad at himself for not being a better person when he fails, when he fails God and his mom and me. If it makes him angry that he’s got demons in him. You can only speculate because you can’t go in there.”

It is clear that Johnny Manziel has a drinking problem and an attitude problem, and as indicated by his father hose two things are likely related. Hopefully he can get treatment and rehab to turn his life around before he enters the NFL.

That said, we need to hit the brakes on the Johnny Manziel coverage and the negative attention he has received for months now. Yes, he is a celebrity who recognizes he is in the spotlight and many of the decisions he has made are immature.

But that immaturity is partially there because he is a 20-year-old college football star who is surrounded by friends who answer “yes” to everything and don’t provide a positive influence around him. He is making decisions that millions of young college students make, but everything is magnified because of the spotlight he is under.

The latest news involving Manziel taking money for autographs sparked a new debate over whether or not college athletes should get paid. While there is no perfect answer for that this is how I feel about it.

Johnny Manziel makes millions of dollars for both the NCAA and Texas A&M and without him their pockets would take a big hit. Yes, the university has given Manziel a free education which many college students would do anything to have just a little support for their tuition bills.

That is all true, but how many scholarships does Manziel pay for with Texas A&M making money off of his jersey sales, marketability, television deals and even more. Manziel is a rare player and it isn’t often that a school gets a gem that they can’t take advantage of. But if Manziel wants to make some money from other parties for signing signatures, I have no problem with that.

There is no doubt Johnny Manziel needs help and hopefully he gets it. He showed little respect for one of the most prestigious football families in existence and as a future NFL prospect needs to take major strides with his own maturity,drinking and attitude. But it’s time for fans and the media to cut this young man a break and let him live his life while hopefully learning from his own lessons and becoming a better person from them.

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Matt Johnson

I am a sports writer entering my first year in college. I am also a aspiring sports radio host.

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