“In The Scope With Joshua M. Hicks” is a weekly column from the Managing Editor of WARR
Johnny Manziel is throwing the football again and he’s doing it for a purpose.
In the last week the former Texas A&M phenom has made headlines while participating in the University of San Diego’s pro day as he attempts to make an NFL comeback.
The latest talents to come out of USD drew some NFL interest of their own, but it was the former 2014 draft pick who had the most attention, including 13 team scouts identified as being there, at least in part, to watch the former Heisman trophy winner workout.
Critics were comparing his attempted return to the NFL to Colin Kaepernick and Manziel tweeted his frustrations with the comparisons while also stating his understanding of Kaepernick being blackballed out of the league due to his protests and showed support for his future endeavors.
Manziel, I appreciate the fact that you are “woke” to the elements of the Kaepernick controversy and support Colin’s stance, but it does not bury the fact that the man has been out the league for a year, still has tons of talent in the tank and is statistically and physically better than the recent Super Bowl MVP, yet cannot get a job because of his political stance.
The comparison of these two former players was based on the original reasons behind why they are currently out of the league and their professional stats.
Manziel has been out of the league since 2015 due to suspensions over legal matters regarding substance abuse and domestic-violence assault, and even though his assault case was dismissed, it is still under league investigation, which means he could be facing a six-game suspension based on the league’s new domestic-abuse policy.
Kaepernick has been out of the league since the 2016 season due to using his platform to protest against the inequalities and police brutality against black and brown young men, which we all know did not turn out well in the eyes of the white America.
In the NFL experience and stats categories, Kaepernick shows that he has the edge in Manziel by a long shot. Manziel, over a career of 14 games, has a 57 percent completion rate, 1,675 passing yards, seven touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 74.4 QBR.
Kaepernick in his 2016 season alone, a total of 12 games, had a 59 percent completion rate, 2,241 passing yards, 16 touchdowns, four interceptions and a 90.7 QBR. With rushing yards, Manziel has 259 rushing yards over his 14 game-span, while Kaepernick had 468 rushing yards in 2016 and 2,300 rushing yards over his six years in the league.
Outside of the talent and stats debtae, we must applaud Manziel for his efforts in turning his life around to attempt a comeback to the league.
Since his departure, Manziel admitted to excessively partying and drinking alcohol when he became the youngest player to win the Heisman in an exclusive interview with Good Morning America, he also admitted that it was one of the reasons that led to his brief exit from the league after being drafted 22nd in the first round of the 2014 draft to the Browns. Within the same interview, he acknowledged his bipolar disorder diagnosis, and took it upon himself to take the prescribed medication and enter rehab to help heal from his depression.
However, even though Manziel may be a new man, the equality amongst the NFL is still an issue. Since both players have been out the league, one has had two pro days at two different colleges where NFL teams have made a priority to attend. The other has had video surfaced of him working on his game and nobody showed interest.
Since both players have been out of the league, one has a suspension waiting for him upon return while another one does not have a chance to see a professional football field again. Manziel is getting a second chance while Kaepernick is still struggling to get one.
The NFL is sending the message that it is acceptable to have comeback from substance abuse and domestic violence but not from political equity. Josh Gordon got the same treatment and now Manziel gets his chance. Where is Kaepernick’s chance?
Manziel, you may not be Kaepernick, but you are the definition of the NFL’s true colors, and that is something that should not be overlooked.
Joshua M. Hicks is a Chicago-based sports writer and broadcaster, follow him on Twitter @jhicks042; Follow We Are Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under We Are Regal Radio