Does Anyone Care If Johnny Manziel Boycotts the Heisman Ceremony?

Manziel claims he'll skip the ceremony until Reggie Bush gets his Heisman trophy back

Johnny Manziel after being picked by the Cleveland Browns.
Johnny Manziel was drafted in 2014 and out of the league by 2016.

The first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, Johnny Manziel captured the award in his redshirt year at Texas A&M after throwing for 3,419 yards and 24 touchdowns and adding 1,181 yards with 19 scores on the ground. A native Texan, “Money Manziel” cemented his status as the 2012 Heisman winner by leading the Aggies to a 29-24 upset of No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa while totaling 345 yards of total offense.

Drafted in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns at the age of 22 despite concerns about his ability to handle playing at the next level, Manziel was out of pro football following the 2015 season after amassing a 2-6 record as a starter. Manziel made several comeback attempts at lower levels of pro ball but was never to get back onto an NFL field after being cut by the Browns.

Remembered equally for being a spectacular college player as well as a massive NFL bust, Manziel still travels in football circles and has been appearing on a number of podcasts in recent days as well as posting on social media. Among his talking points is the plight of 2005 Heisman winner Reggie Bush, who was stripped of his award in 2010 after a four-year NCAA investigation determined the former USC running back and his family accepted cash, travel expenses and a home in the San Diego area while he was playing for the Trojans.

Manziel, who told Sharpe he lost 40 pounds doing cocaine in Las Vegas after he was cut by the Browns, said he feels for Bush and will be boycotting future Heisman ceremonies until the ex-Trojan gets his award back. “After careful thought and consideration I will be humbly removing myself from the Heisman trophy ceremony until @ReggieBush gets his trophy back,” Manziel posted on X. “Doesn’t sit right with my morals and values that he can’t be on that stage with us every year. Reggie IS the Heisman trophy. Do the RIGHT thing @NCAA the ball is in your court.”

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Speaking to Shannon Sharpe on his Club Shay Shay podcast, Manziel pointed out, somewhat correctly, that what Bush was penalized for back in 2010 is now permissible under the NCAA’s relatively new NIL guidelines.

“What Reggie did then is legal now that somebody could do, right?” Manziel said. “It wouldn’t make him ineligible now, even though it did at the time. And in the grand scheme of things, I probably did way worse than Reggie. There’s chatter going around that nobody in this crew, in this Heisman fraternity, it [doesn’t sit] right with us that Reggie ain’t up there with us every year.”

Bush’s absence at the ceremony might not sit right with Manziel and his peers, but the reality is that no one is going to care if he is absent from the ceremony as well due to his threatened boycott. Football fans care about football players and Manziel hasn’t been one for almost a decade. And, given Manziel’s openness about his reckless past behavior, the NCAA might be more than happy not to have him associated with the Heisman any longer. They can’t revoke Manziel’s award, but the Heisman committee has no reason to listen to him about Bush. He should share his opinion and is free to do so, but he shouldn’t expect anyone to adhere to it.

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