Admittedly, I probably don’t do as much reading as I should. However, I came across this piece by ESPN The Magazine writer Wright Thompson just a few weeks ago. The story chronicles everyone’s favorite SEC quarterback, Johnny Manziel, over the hectic summer that has been so publicized.
I like this piece for several reasons. First, it tells the whole story of the Manziel saga. The version of the story that we get in mainstream media is the “He ate Skittles, drank beer and won the Heisman,” version. Thompson goes beyond that, telling not only the what of the events that most of us are familiar with, but the why and the how as well. As Thompson puts it, “People on the outside see only the final collapse: the drunken photo, the fight outside a bar, the angry tweet. They never see the slow decay, because that happens in private.” This also brings me to my second point: the journalism and storytelling behind this is excellent. Thompson eloquently tells the story in a way that, at least for me, keeps you engaged (on a side note, his section that begins “DON’T BE SURPRISED.” is probably the best written).
Like Manziel or not, he’s a polarizing figure who had a magical season and it worth talking about. Thompson portrays the story in an unbiased way. He doesn’t pick and choose quotes that just portray Manziel as the spoiled brat or as the defenseless victim, he paints the whole picture and allows the readers to judge for themselves.