Johnny Manziel reportedly accepted $7,500 for autograph signing
|08.07.13 at 12:14 pm ET|
Johnny Manziel was paid for signing several hundred pieces of football memorabilia, according to one report, and it could cost him his season.
According to an ESPN story Tuesday citing an anonymous Connecticut autograph broker, the Texas A&M quarterback, who became the first freshman to ever with the Heisman at the end of last year, accepted $7,500 to sign about 300 — a rate of $25 apiece — mini- and full-sized Texas A&M helmets in January. ESPN’s Joe Schad watched videos, taken without Manziel’s knowledge, that showed the 20-year-old signing the helmets.
The signing allegedly happened at a New Haven hotel while Manziel was in town for a Walter Camp Football Foundation event.
This development came just two days after ESPN’s Outside the Lines reported that the NCAA is investigating Manziel for allegedly accepting payment for signing hundreds of autographs on two occasions when he went to Miami for the BCS National Championship Game in January. As in the case with the video of the New Haven signing, two witnesses of the Miami sessions did not watch money change hands.
Should the NCAA conclude Manziel indeed accepted payment for the autographs, it would violate college sports’ amateurism rules and put his sophomore campaign — and possible more — at risk.
One NFL star who can relate to the issues that plague Manziel — being a young college kid and the reigning Heisman winner — is Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, whom the NCAA also investigated during his time at Auburn. Newton and Manziel reportedly have chatted about dealing with the extra sources of pressure.
“When I was there at college so many people wanted from me and I wanted to give so much,” Newton told The Associated Press. “Like I would sign this and give my time and this, this and that. And nobody was looking at it through my [eyes]. If you say no to this particular person you are going to be a [jerk]. You are going to be the person that people look at as, `What’s up? We came out here and supported you and cheered for you and you can’t sign an autograph?’ Never mind that you signed 300 other autographs before. But that’s the nature of the beast.”
The NCAA found no wrongdoing on Newton’s part when it wrapped up its investigation in October 2011. USA Today reported that Texas A&M has hired the same lawyers Newton used at that time.
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