After he scored Clemson’s first touchdown of the season in the first quarter of the Tigers’ 38-35 win over Georgia Saturday, Tajh Boyd celebrated by rubbing his second and third fingers against his thumb over and over again. The gesture, meant to say “Show me the money”, was in homage to Boyd’s private quarterback coach George Whitfield.
No one batted an eye.
During his season-opening half—because, you know, SUSPENDED—Johnny Manziel did the same thing. He, too, was a student of Whitfield’s over the summer, so the gesture meant the same thing to him that it did to Boyd.
The gesture has been played repeatedly on ESPN over the past few days as an example of bad behavior.
So why the difference in perception? Maybe because Boyd is everything that’s right in college football and Manziel is everything wrong with it.
Johnny Nightlife is back in the news, thankfully for his tomfoolery on the football field this time. But tomfoolery is still tomfoolery, regardless of where it happens.
After being suspended for the first half of Saturday’s game against Rice for obviously justified reasons, Mr. Nightlife proceeded to use his first 30 minutes of action this season to act like an attention-starved infant whose mama looked away for two seconds. Taunting, scoreboard-pointing, autographing air, celebrating elaborately in a tryout for the XFL—this is how the reigning Heisman Trophy winner spent his Saturday afternoon.
His actions demonstrated a lack of remorse or concern for his current predicament. It is clear he is not going to change his behavior under any circumstances, but it goes much deeper than that. After being a decent guy in 2012 while he led his team to lofty heights, Nightlife has shown us he will be playing for himself this season, not his teammates, his coaches, or Texas A&M.
Frankly, this is disgusting. I have no issue with celebrating as long as it doesn’t bring negative attention to an opponent. But what Nightlife did crossed the line and proves—once and for all—that he runs Texas A&M.
Kevin Sumlin has no control. Eric Hyman has no control. The president thinks Johnny Nightlife hung the moon, for crying out loud.
As far as I’m concerned, the Aggie honor code is dead as long as Manziel has a scholarship. Accolades and awards can’t be the price of sacrificing integrity and dignity, which is exactly what A&M is doing when it allows this petulant clown show to continue to spoil the reputation of a respected institution.
Then there’s Tajh Boyd. He says the right things. He does the right things. He is well-respected as a teammate and is a master deflector of praise.
Boyd made some huge plays against Georgia that vaulted his name to the top of the Heisman charts. That’s why he can celebrate and Manziel can’t.
Clemson should be proud to have Boyd as a representative of its football program because of his maturity and professional demeanor. A&M should be ashamed of Manziel, period. Every game he plays is a black mark against the Aggies because of the disrespect and immature behavior he displays.
Boyd inspires and leads his teammates. Manziel distracts from and forgets his teammates.
Boyd appreciates and embraces Clemson. Manziel thinks Texas A&M is out to get him.
Boyd has a spotless track record as a college student. Manziel…well, you know.
Perhaps the best way to contrast these two players is like this: One of the quarterbacks played to win on Saturday. The other one tried to lose the Heisman.
I’ll let you guess which is which.