Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Louis Murphy believes that teammate Jameis Winston gets a bad rap compared to Johnny Manziel.
In a story from by ESPN’s Alex Kennedy, Murphy defended his teammate and his image. Kennedy later tweeted (since deleted) a passage from Murphy that did not quite make the cut.
“That’s just how the media plays it; you would think Johnny Manziel is this freaking great kid, but he’s f–ing terrible,” Murphy said, (H/T Deadspin’s Tom Ley). “Jameis didn’t do half of the s— that (Johnny) has done. And I’m sorry, excuse my language, but I’m just passionate about it. It really frustrates me to see the media make a guy out to be a bad person, just because of the color of his skin.”
Wow. There’s so much to digest here.
When it comes to his off-field issues, Winston’s primary scrutiny has centered around a sexual assault case, theft of crab legs and shouting obscenities at Florida State’s Student Union. Make no mistake about it, these are serious situations. Sexual allegations are especially serious and can’t just be ignored, no matter how much charity work the accused has also done.
Also, what exactly has any negative publicity cost Winston? Despite dealing with sexual assault allegations through most of the 2013 season, he won the Heisman Trophy.
A year later, he didn’t repeat as either the Heisman Trophy winner or National Champion, but Winston did manage to get selected first in the draft. Not bad for a guy who’s supposedly unfairly made out to be a villain.
The other laughably naive part of this is how Murphy perceived Manziel’s treatment.
We can say a lot of things about Manziel. His issues include domestic violence charges, which are also serious — a fact that’s magnified by the absurd amount of criticism Manziel has received in the press.
Additionally, Manziel has been heavily scrutinized for going to Coachella and partying at night clubs. Given his high profile and how bad this year has gone, that may be fair scrutiny, but there’s nothing illegal in that.
Still, he’s criticized in a very public way any time that happens. The guy’s own father has publicly expressed doubt that he’ll live to see his 24th birthday.
Other than Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, it would not be out of bounds to say that nobody — athlete or otherwise — has been more heavily criticized in 2016 than Johnny Manziel. Unlike those politicians, he doesn’t have a big vocal group of supporters or a PR team to spin the criticism.
Murphy may feel that there are plenty of racial issues that exist. He wouldn’t even be wrong thinking that and pointing out those injustices. But saying that Johnny Manziel gets preferential treatment over Jameis Winston because of his race misses the mark and does so in a big way.