I was sitting in the doctor’s office this morning waiting for my appointment, thinking about what current event I could choose that would include the 6 sociological concepts. I was at a loss. Syria crossed my mind. Obama care was a thought. But my answer was lying on the coffee table beside me with a Sports Illustrated cover and the picture of a football phenom with a number 2 jersey emblazoning his torso and wearing his Texas A&M helmet. I picked up the magazine and found the article on page 26 and started to read. Johnny Manziel, or Johnny Football as he is so affectionately known, and has trademarked the term by the way, is a 19 year old sophomore quarterback for Texas A&M University. The article which I reference is written by Andy Staples from Sports Illustrated. The article goes into great detail about the struggles of Manziel in dealing with his fame gained from being the first freshman QB ever to be awarded the Heisman Trophy.
According to Henslin the sociological construction of reality and how it applies in this situation is that college football had never experienced a freshman awardee of the Heisman trophy. For one he is an under classman with 3 more years of eligibility, and is also a minor under the age of 21. Usually a Heisman trophy winner accepts the trophy at the Waldorf Astoria and enters the NFL draft that year without having to deal with the social norms and rules of the NCAA. Quite frankly the NCAA rules are so strict that they inhibit a person of that age from being able to have any sort of life other than the sport for which they agreed to play.
Immediately upon hearing his name called at the Waldorf Astoria last December, Johnny Football’s life changed. He was no longer an 18 year old young man from Killeen, Texas. He became an overnight celebrity with more fans than he could ever dream and immense wealth at his fingertips and ready access to increased media scrutiny. Basically he jumped many rungs on the social stratification ladder the instant he lifted the trophy above his head. This is where the NCAA rules of this story come into play. The NCAA sets the rules/laws of all collegiate athletes and universities.
This is the social control that the NCAA maintains over its subordinates, trying to maintain structure within the ranks and prevent players from profiting from their status as premier athletes. If an athlete is playing a sport for an NCAA governed school, that athlete has to abide by the rules laid out under the NCAA. Johnny Football’s new found fame and life in the social media spotlight is what has lead him, and his parents, to trademark the “Johnny Football” name in order for the family to profit from his notoriety. Trademarking his name and profiting from this fame as a collegiate athlete is considered a deviant behavior and is against the NCAA rules. Johnny Football was penalized this past weekend by the NCAA and made to sit out the first half of the season opening game as punishment for violating NCAA rules.
As I mentioned previously, Johnny Football is 19 years old. He gained overnight fame by winning the Heisman trophy, and with that fame came temptation, and thanks to the social media outlets such as FACEBOOK, TWITTER and INSTAGRAM, Johnny has been caught on numerous occasions drinking underage and breaking laws. He even recently got a parking ticket for parking illegally, his car facing the wrong way on a one way street. The Johnny Football story has just began to be written, but already is a classic example of environmental sociology. He is becoming a creature of the environment of fame and fortune and the irony is that the NCAA placed him in the environment without counsel and to fend for himself. References
Henslin, J.M. Sociology, A down-to-Earth Approach, (10th ed). . Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2010. Staples, Andy. “Tracking Johnny Manziel: The quest to profile Texas A&M’s star.” Sports Illustrated. July 31, 2013. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20130731/johnny-manziel-andy-staples-sports-illustrated/ (accessed September 5, 2013).