In what we can only hope was an appropriately hydrated court appearance, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge stemming from a fight outside a bar.
According to the Bryan-College Station Eagle, Manziel pleaded guilty Monday to failing to identify himself to police. He’ll have to pay the maximum fine of $2,000 and $232 in court costs. Prosecutors said that as part of the deal, another misdemeanor charge of possession of a fake driver’s license would be dismissed, along with a disorderly conduct charge.
“He took responsibility for his actions that night and is ready to put what happened that night behind him,” attorney Cam Reynolds said of Manziel.
Of course, that’s wishful thinking on the part of Team Manziel, especially in conjunction with the reports of his leaving the Manning Passing Academy this weekend with an illness.
When Manziel does decide to go the NFL route, he’ll have to answer plenty of questions about his conduct and character for teams. He’s a talented college player, though he’s not blessed with prototype size or arm strength. That didn’t keep him from winning the Heisman, but he’s not in a position that off-field concerns won’t impact his draft stock.
Of course, what might help is some degree of accountability from Manziel himself.
Sending his dad or lawyers out to explain his behavior is one thing. But he appears to undervalue the power of standing up and saying: “I’m young, I made a mistake.”
Football fans, and people in general, are a fairly forgiving lot. And while college bar fights or the occasional illness wouldn’t be enough to derail his future NFL employment, not understanding how to take responsibility might be a bad sign for what he might do when he gets there.