Heisman trophy winning Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (with white cap on) reacts during the game between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat at the American Airlines Center. Miami won 110-95. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Johnny Manziel sat courtside at Thursday night's Dallas Mavericks game against the Miami Heat. Judging by reaction on social media, you'd think he had violated every tenet of amateur athletics by scoring some primo seats to an NBA game.
The Heisman Trophy winner was shown during TNT's broadcast of the game, leading analyst Steve Kerr impishly to wonder how a 20-year-old could afford such pricey tickets.
"Just because he's playing in the SEC now, I'm not trying to insinuate anything," Kerr said, insinuating enough that Manziel was flooded with calls and texts from people curious about Kerr's comments.
Manziel didn't do himself many favors when he defended himself with a tweet.
"Bought myself a little birthday present tonight stop hating!," he wrote.
Got that, Steve Kerr? The college freshman is spending his winter break like all underclassman home for Christmas: by spending hundreds of dollars on seats to a game to celebrate a birthday that took place at the beginning of the month! Get with the program!
Kerr treated it like a goof, and that's how the rest of America should too.
Look, we have no idea how Manziel got the tickets. If he says he bought them, then we believe him. Texas A&M fled the Big 12 for the added millions of the Southeastern Conference television contract.
The Aggies are getting more than $3.5 million to play in the Cotton Bowl. Let's not act scandalized when the young quarterback who got them there gets to have a night of luxury. Manziel didn't help his cause by saying he bought the tickets himself.
It may be true -- perhaps he came into family money at 18 or gets a sizable allowance or works lucrative jobs in between classes and football practice -- but it doesn't pass many people's smell test.
Had he said, "My family bought them for me (they own and operate an oil company in Texas)" or "they were a birthday gift from an aunt" or not issued comment at all, nobody would have made a stink.
Saying "I bought the tickets" makes it sound fishier than it needs to.
As Dr. Saturday notes, Manziel also sat courtside for a Houston Rockets game on Wednesday night and went into the locker room to hang out with James Harden.
What, you didn't spend your 20th birthday hanging out with NBA stars on consecutive nights at two arenas more than 200 miles from each other? Then you were doing it wrong, my friend.