There is nothing new here. It wasn’t too long ago that we were being asked to swallow the idea that Cam Newton turned down money to attend Mississippi State but went to Auburn at the 11th hour for nothing? It was all worth it for Auburn. They lawyered up. They got their national championship. They made their money. Cam did what he was hired to do and moved on.
History is repeating itself nicely. Texas A&M has lawyered up with the same people that saved Auburn’s butt. They have way too much at stake to have done anything else. Johnny Football is a cash cow that must be milked.
College football and college basketball have been on my personal sports menu for as long as I can remember. But it is getting harder and harder to rationalize their existence, at least in the manner in which they have evolved, and it seems to me people are missing the point.
The question in this particular case is not, “Should college athletes be paid?” That is a fair question, but not a relevant one in the case of Johnny Manziel, who comes from a wealthy family. The question that should be asked is, “Do some of these adults who worship college sports have anything remotely resembling a real life?” Passion for a college sport or particular institution is one thing. A mindless obsession that puts any remote value on the signature of a 20-year-old college player is another thing entirely.
You know how Colombian drug dealers like to say that if Americans (and others) didn’t hunger for their product, there wouldn’t be any need to produce the drugs? Well, if those Texas A&M fans weren’t so sickly obsessed with college football, Johnny Manziel’s signature on a helmet would be worthless.
Anyway, there has been way too much PED and Johnny Football discussion. There are pennant races to decide, and the NFL is starting up. We’ve got the US Open and the FedEx Cup. Competition! The games themselves should take precedence — first, last, and always.
Bob Ryan's column appears regularly in the Globe. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.