You wanna see some shit?
Once upon a time in this country, there were ugly, racist, tyrannical rules dictating where a black person could sit on a bus. There were all kinds of these laws, actually, created and defended by the racists who benefited from them.
What kick-started change was an average, everyday woman named Rosa Parks, who had grown tired of being tired. Hers was not the first protest, nor was it particularly the best. It was merely the tipping point for many Americans long since tired of these immoral laws.
This is Fox Sports' Jen Floyd Engel, and as you might have guessed, she's writing about Johnny Manziel, and his heroic struggle against the unjust laws of the NCAA. Johnny Gandhi Buddha Jesus Reverend Saint Francis of Assisi Football. It takes a breathtaking contempt for history to compare Rosa Parks, an activist who committed a conscious act of civil disobedience and risked bodily harm in a social movement that wouldn't reach full flower for another decade, and Johnny Manziel, who allegedly signed some autographs for cash.
Engel's larger point is that most fans are on Manziel's side in any potential dispute with the NCAA, and that's fine. But Manziel is far from the first college athlete to try to make money off his image. So why the outrage now? Two years ago, Terrelle Pryor was suspended five games for trading memorabilia for money. Engel called him a "terrorist."
Here's what she wrote about Roger Goodell hitting Pryor with an NFL suspension to keep the NCAA happy:
He did not play enforcer for the NCAA. Nor did he overstep his bounds or act as a capricious holy roller, as many have implied. In this increasingly ugly and infinitely cynical time in college football, he took a stand. Roger sent a clear message that the NFL will no longer be a safe harbor for college football terrorists.
Whatever your argument against suspending Pryor — the rules are arcane and hypocritical, athletes should be paid, the NCAA is fraudulent and obsolete — none justifies his wanton disregard for his teammates and his school or entitles him to walk away without being nicked by a mess of his creation.
Please also stop with the “he’s a catalyst for change” meme.
Real change begins with a guy willing to sacrifice for a larger principle, the guy standing in front of the tank at Tiananmen Square, not a guy trying to get the Chinese word for “Buckeye” tattooed onto his bicep for free.
No revolution ever began with “Free tattoos” as a battle cry. Or “Show me the money,” as in Reggie Bush’s case, or “Hey, Nevin, pass me a stripper,” as in the allegations against The Miami 15.
This is Engel's game. (You might remember her from such columns as "What if Tim Tebow were a Muslim who behaved like an evangelical Christian.") False equivalency; a feverish air of smarmy, white grievance; bad historical analogy. She's a YouTube commenter who gets 800 words and a paycheck.
Terrelle Pryor is not a man standing down a line of tanks, she writes. But "Manziel is the new Rosa Parks," as the headline on her piece originally read before some editor finally read a Wikipedia page or something.
What's the difference between Pryor and Manziel? Why are Reggie Bush and Cam Newton and Terrelle Pryor vilified (by Jen Floyd Engel), while Johnny Manziel gets a nation (and Jen Floyd Engel) behind him? Yesterday, even before Engel's column was published, her colleague Jason Whitlock asked that question and invoked an appropriate example from history—the blowback against marijuana laws in the 1960s—to make the point that white people cry out against social injustices when they start to affect white people. Perhaps the scales have fallen from Engel's eyes and she can now see the NCAA for what it is. The alternative is that Jen Floyd Engel is just a moron.