Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is not only an award-winning athlete, but a scholar, too. Manziel recently submitted an independent study research paper for his Sociology 419 class that his professor calls “simply the most brilliant paper I’ve seen in my 30 years as an educator. This could, and should be, published in national academic journals. It’s that good.”
The 214-page thesis reveals that Manziel spent more than a year developing a larger-than-life college sports personality in order to track and analyze the behavior of the national sports media.
“It is really eye-opening and important research,” said Dr. Philip Gonzalez. “It lays bare to a degree I’ve never seen before the hyperbole, hypocrisy and unquenchable thirst for ratings and pageviews that plagues modern media. Johnny got just six credits for this brilliant piece of independent study work, but if it was up to me, I give him a Ph.D. I’ll admit that I’m jealous of how good it is.”
Manziel says he first thought of the idea for the paper in high school.
“The recruiting process really opened my eyes to how far we’ve gone off the rails,” he said. “We’re treating teenage boys like product, having grown men, professionals in their field, go to these kids’ homes and beg them to play football for them. Football. Meanwhile the media covers this all like it’s important. There are countless recruiting sites and publications tracking all of this, rating kids, breaking them down, quantifying their positives and negatives. Their decisions are broadcast on national TV. It’s sick, really. Anyway, that’s when I decided that when I went to college, I would try to expose some of this with a sociological experiment I dubbed ‘Johnny Football.’”
Despite the original hypothesis of his research, Manziel admits he was even surprised by the state of modern media.
“With one tweet, one photo, one night out with friends — all essentially meaningless and without known context — I could completely takeover the news cycle with ‘Johnny Football,’” he said. “I know academic research doesn’t get a lot of mainstream attention, but I hope what I did can at least open a few eyes and maybe effect some positive change.”
The quarterback says he is also close to finishing his research for his Human Biology class on the effects of alcohol on the human liver.
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