Johnny Manziel Files Suit for "Johnny Football" Trademark Infringement. Good For Him!
2. I thought it was interesting, that last sentence that a student-athlete can keep financial earnings "as a result of a legal action." With the NCAA as haphazardly vigilant as they've been in the last couple years (notwithstanding how bumbling they've been in executing said vigilance), I can't wait for the first school that concocts a phony lawsuit as a means of paying a student-athlete.
"So here's what we are gonna do, Robert. We set up a shell company called Nkemdiche Worldwide LLC, and we trademark the nickname 'The NKEMDEECHINATOR.' And then we will have a planted student that we bankroll start selling NKEMDEECHINATOR t-shirts, thousands of them, then we will have Nkemdiche Worldwide sue the pants off of him and force him to pay you damages. Bada boom, bada bing! YOU get paid! Now, sign here, Robert!" Don't think there aren't rogue boosters trying to figure out how they can work this loophole to their advantage.
3. Lastly, and most importantly, you will have plenty of Johnny Manziel skeptics, people who roll their eyes at his Instagram account and who scoff at his taking his entire semester's worth of courses online, disdainfully saying that this is yet another example of Manziel's edgy road to remaining eligible and focused for the 2013 season, that it's another hint at his eventual ruin. They will say that the great quarterbacks of our time are much busier honing their craft than protecting their trademarked nickname.
Thar's money in them thar number twos.
To them I say "Stand down," and to Johnny Manziel I say "Good for you, kid."
When a high school athlete commits to playing their sport collegiately by signing a national letter of intent, they are signing the most detrimentally one-sided contract that they will ever ink in their entire career, in athletics or in business. All power resides with and all profit goes to the NCAA and the member institution for whom they choose to go play.
Texas A&M football is big business all of a sudden. In one year, the Aggies have gone from underachieving little brother of the University of Texas and a middling Big 12 school to a reedy-to-erupt SEC powerhouse and a cool place for high school football players to go spend the next three, four, or five years of their lives.
There are several reasons for this phenomenon. The move to the SEC has worked out better than anyone could have imagined. The Kevin Sumlin hire was and is a home run on every conceivable level. His first season, highlighted by the aforementioned upset of Alabama, has put the Aggies squarely in the national title talk for 2013.
And then there's Johnny Football.
In 2012, Manziel rendered chunks of the SEC record book obsolete, accounting for over 5,000 yards in total offense as a redshirt freshman, including over 1,400 yards rushing. His star rose to cult hero status, Joe Namath with a Twitter account. In addition to the intrinsic, immeasurable financial value Manziel brought to the A&M brand, the A&M merchandising department capitalized by ordering and promptly selling out of thousands and thousands of Johnny Manziel #2 jerseys.
For all of those sales, Johnny Manziel saw exactly zero dollars and zero cents of that merchandise related revenue stream.
So forgive me for not begrudging a kid and his family for taking a pragmatic, legal approach to maximizing the earnings off of his name. And save the "He should be focused on football, not garbage like this" rhetoric. If Manziel has shown the ability to do anything, it's compartmentalize. The dude spent the entire month of December on the banquet circuit, courtside at NBA games, and tweeting pictures of himself backstage in Hollywood.
And he promptly went out on January 4 and destroyed Oklahoma by four touchdowns in the Cotton Bowl with over 500 yards of total offense.
Johnny Manziel is protecting his name and his brand. Good for him.
Now if he could just find a way to control some of the idiots who wear this stuff....
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