With the explosion of social media in the last few years, many think that sports teams will need to Johnny Manziel-proof themselves.
Or will they?
By now, everyone has caught a glimpse of Manziel’s mini-vacation photos he took in Las Vegas a few months ago. In it was the usual charade of Vegas: scantily clad women in a party atmosphere with Johnny and his friends.
Now I don’t think this is a big deal. Manziel hasn’t thrown a pass in the NFL yet, and he decided to go to Vegas moments after he was issued the Browns playbook.
Yet I was surprised to see and hear about how many people were upset that he wasn’t at home cramming his brain with hot routes, silent counts and hand signals.
First of all, let the players fail before jumping all over them for a decision based on free time.
Taken a step further, what if said player was a veteran? Would Packers fans have a problem if Aaron Rodgers started filling up social media with himself partying in the offseason?
Football players live in a 24/7 media bubble that makes them feel like they are being suffocated. That’s why offensive linemen usually give the most candid quotes, because that group of hard workers hardly ever gets a microphone thrown in his personal space.
Obviously, athletes have to be a little bit more cautious with what they let the world to see. This isn’t high school where you can post a picture of something and only your close friends are going to see it.
But then again, I don’t think it’s fair for athletes to live as hermits. The reason Rodgers is so adored in Green Bay is because he is approachable. He is spotted in the grocery store, restaurants and doing other regular people things. But Packers fans, being in the smallest NFL town, are smart enough not to ruin every public appearance that he makes by splashing it up on social media every time.
What it all comes down to is filtering. Herm Edwards, the ESPN NFL analyst who is outspoken to a fault, had a brief talk at the NFL Rookie Symposium a few years ago. The main thing he said was, “Think twice before you hit send.”