The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant once again sits in an empty room on National Signing Day, unrecruited and bitter. All that hard work and Adderall and deer antler spray gone to waste. The Rant enjoyed a brief career as a place kicker during high school where we had excellent range but poor nerves. It’s entirely possible we drilled our linemen in the back during game conditions. For everyone’s safety we turned to more bookish pursuits.
The Rant’s favorite recruiting story remains Eric Dickerson. Upon being presented a briefcase of cash to attend the University of Texas, Dickerson laughed and said, “Not even close guys. Sorry.” Dickerson took his talents to SMU who must have delivered their incentive via dump truck.
Which brings us to the rantin’: Could everyone stop acting shocked or outraged or surprised Johnny Football entered rehab? Especially you Cleveland. Manziel left digital bread crumbs of his life that charted a path straight to addiction and self-destruction. The media acts like there is some magical process to determine “character” that some teams possess and others don’t. How about logging on to Johnny’s twitter feed? Process complete.
We have created a system where Lane Kiffin once offered a scholarship to a seventh grader to play at USC, where teenagers hold press conferences, and where the NCAA makes billions of dollars from economically deprived athletes without sending a penny their way. To feign disgust that those athletes feel entitled and then get chewed up by the system seems a bit disingenuous to The Rant.
Manziel’s tale embodies the American preoccupation with Potential over Production. We love the flash of brilliance more than steady excellence. Teams and companies get suckered into What Might Be over and over. The hype always overshadows the reality. Rather than examine our priorities, we cut the objects of our disappointment down to size and toss them away.
But hey, did you hear about the six-year old that can already bench 220? We can’t wait to see where that kid ends up. Never mind, he just got busted for steroids. We heard he had character issues anyway. Loser.