Texas A&M Alum Defends Johnny Manziel in Student Newspaper Full-Page Ad

An alumnus of Texas A&M University recently expressed his distaste for the continued “media frenzy” surrounding football star Johnny Manziel — by discussing it in the media.

In an open letter published this week as a full-page advertisement in The Battalion, Texas A&M’s student newspaper, Aggies alum Gene Birdwell writes, “Most of the Aggies I know are tired of the media focusing on Mr. Manziel’s personal life as a means of distracting from the Aggie football program’s recent success. Aggies don’t shoot their wounded; we support and stand by one another and that is why Aggies make good soldiers, good friends and good businessmen.” 

A 60-second recap for NCAA ignoramuses: Since winning the Heisman Trophy as a freshman in December, Manziel has become embroiled in an escalating series of Kardashian-sized scandals. While most have simply spurred headlines and tweets, the most recent has real implications — allegations he autographed memorabilia for money that will possibly result in actual punishment including missed games.

The placement of Birdwell’s support ad in the Battalion becomes especially ironic with his closing statement: “I believe I speak for many proud Aggies when I say we stand behind Coach [Kevin] Sumlin, Mr. Manziel and the entire football program 110 percent.”

His sentiments arrive less than three months after a Battalion staff member penned a much-discussed anti-Manziel op-ed headlined, “Johnny, Be Gone.

As Sean Lester wrote at the time, in the wake of a separate controversy involving Manziel, “It’s time to send Johnny Football down the proverbial one-year hallway in the house that is Texas A&M and straight out the front door. … His accomplishments are noted but no matter the outcome of the promising 2013 season it is time to watch Manziel ride off into the sunset. Johnny Football wants out and as a selfish observer, I want him out as well.”

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