Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel has earned a lot of criticism in the past year for his off-field antics, but there’s one man who’s been trying to help him deal with his newfound fame and scrutiny.
Rapper Drake, whose real name is Aubrey Graham, spent some time with Manziel this past summer in an attempt to impart some wisdom on how to deal with the publicity both negative and positive. Drake was a child actor prior to becoming a rapper, so he understands how quickly being an overnight sensation can change a person’s life and shared some thoughts about Manziel and their relationship on ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday morning.
“To go from zero to 100 right away, the spotlight’s on, brighter than ever, I think that he’s just kinda going through the motions and of course there is accountability in some situations,” Drake said. “I encourage him to have stronger discipline than anybody else. I tell him, in this position that we’re in, it takes major sacrifice. And a lot of the time, I know you want to live your life and I know you want to have fun, but there’s also like a bigger picture here and we’re in it for the long term.
“And I try and implement that into his psyche and I tell him, let’s have that discipline. Let’s sacrifice all the fun. Even if it means coming to see me. If they’re going to scrutinize you about coming to see me, don’t worry, we’ll see each other. You play your game. That’s the best advice I can offer.”
Drake said he has an affinity toward Manziel and called the two “a duo.” Manziel even has an “OVO” tattoo on his wrist, which represents Drake’s record label OVO Sound. Drake said Manziel had the tattoo even before the two met, which proved how much of a fan he was of Drake’s music. And Drake has become a fan, too. He said he has Texas A&M radio on his phone so he can get the games and follow Manziel’s play.
“First of all, Johnny is like one of the best guys. He’s got a pure heart,” Drake said. “He’s very strong-minded. It bothers me when people try to strip him of that because that’s what drew me to him. He’s definitely, like, an incredible guy.”
Drake said when Manziel flew to Toronto to hang out, he made sure there were no pictures of the two taken and that Manziel felt comfortable just being himself. No one even knew the two were friends until an ESPN the Magazine story noted the trip was taken. Drake said the time they spent together then and since was all about educating Manziel.
“I want to see this kid thrive and succeed, so I would never put him in any situation, I would never put him in jeopardy,” Drake said. “He came out there for the music and for the experience and it was a phenomenal experience and we had fun.
“For me, it’s not hanging out and looking cool because I know Johnny Manziel, I actually care about this guy.”
That last quote is telling about Manziel’s fame. Shouldn’t Manziel be the one who’s impressed to be hanging out with Drake?