Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, has said many times that he’s continually adjusting to the new spotlight that has found him, but he's also had to deal with the malicious downside of his fame.
On Monday, website outkickthecoverage.com posted a photo of Manziel kissing his Heisman Trophy and the statue appeared to be holding some sort of cigarette (though the headline suggests it’s a joint).
Of course, the photo spread like wildfire and even though outkickthecoverage.com said it could not confirm it was Manziel or confirm with Texas A&M the photo was real, it still sparked controversy and Manziel had to take to Twitter to defend himself.
ABSOLUTELY PHOTOSHOPPED. People are always out to get me...sorry for kissing my trophy
— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) April 22, 2013
Of course, just because Manziel says it's fake doesn't mean it is, but we're willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here. Manziel has been very careful not to get photographed in compromising situations (mostly pertaining to alcohol since he's under 21) and this would fall into that category.
There are a lot of people who don’t like Manziel because he’s not the prototypical Heisman Trophy winner. He doesn’t stay inside and watch TV and keep to himself. He’s out at NBA games and the Super Bowl and doing things guys his age only dream of doing. And like any college kid, he’s documented it, bragged about it and loved every minute of it. All the while, it’s all been on the up-and-up. He’s broken no laws and no NCAA rules. He’s just a 20-year-old kid being a 20-year-old kid.
But there are a lot of people who resent that. There’s a lot of jealousy. Subsequently, there are people who manufacture photos to hurt him. Manziel admits to being in that car kissing his Heisman, but whatever the rolled item is in the bronze statue’s hand is manufactured. That’s pretty easy to see just in the change of color on Manziel’s hand.
Sadly, this probably won’t be the last time Manziel has to defend himself from this type of maliciousness and childishness. Manziel has had his moments where he’s fought with fans via social networking, but for the most part he’s handled every criticism with grace that most 20-year-olds don’t have.
That alone makes him better than the people trying to bring him down.
- - -
Dream Chasers from Yahoo! Sports:
Other popular content on Yahoo! Sports:
• Nike pulls 'Boston Massacre' shirts from its shelves
• Big contracts and big losses for Los Angeles baseball
• Fantasy: Early snapshot of top 50 RBs for 2013
• Boxer Canelo Alvarez still a work in progress