Footenotes: Johnny Manziel, Mike Trout and, yes, School Closings

Image Credit: Graham Hughes / The Canadian Press via AP

Hello, all. Hope you’ve had a good last seven days and your week is off to a great start. In last week’s edition of Footenotes, we broke down the Robert Kraft situation, discussed the (possible) decline of KU Hoops and LeBron James, along with much more. This week’s mailbag isn’t too full, but there’s still plenty enough to make for a fun read. Without further ado…

  1. After now being fired and blacklisted from the CFL for “undisclosed reasons,” should any professional team risk money and player space on Manziel?

That’s a good way to kick off this week’s series of questions. Former Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel currently finds himself completely out of the professional football world. Because the details of why the Montreal Alouettes released him are not known, one can only speculate. With that said, and given Manziel’s history in regards to off-the-field issues, it isn’t hard for the mind to wander off.

Never living up to expectations in any aspect in the NFL, the success Manziel experienced in college also failed to transition to the CFL. Last season with Montreal, the former Texas A&M Aggie completed 106 of 165 passes for 1,290 yards and tossed five touchdowns, but also threw seven interceptions. His public image wasn’t subject to nearly as much scrutiny while in Canada but with his recent ban from the league being news last week, we likely haven’t heard Johnny Manziel’s name for the final time.

Whether that’s a good or bad thing depends on who you’re rooting for. Johnny, the player, was one of the more exciting college football players in recent memory. He flashed that potential a few times in the NFL. His style of play, albeit dangerous and not always conducive to success, fits in more in today’s NFL than it ever has. The idea of Manziel in the NFL is all but a fantasy now because of…

Johnny, the person. Take your pick of reasons Manziel’s luck has run out. I’ll give you a refresher on some of his off-the-field transgressions:

  • Banned from Manning Passing Academy for attendance reasons
  • Partying videos emerge in the summer of 2014
  • Fined twice in August 2014, once for being late to a meeting and once for an on-field obscene gesture
  • Multiple other partying rumors/reports that upset the Cleveland front office
  • Reported incident with girlfriend

That list could have been longer. The point here is that as exciting as Manziel can be on the field, he has never been able to be enough of a quality person off it to maintain his spot. To answer the initial question, I could see the AAF bringing Manziel in once (if!?) it’s made public why he was banned from the CFL. We’ll see. Would I sign Johnny Manziel to a contract? No. But I’m not the one making those decisions.

2. Transgender high school athletes spark controversy, debate in Connecticut

Someone sent me the link to an article (titled above) about two transgender sprinters in Connecticut. I’m actually working on a research paper about this topic right now, so it’s fitting that I get a head start on it. Andraya Yearwood and Terry Miller, both transgender (MTF) track athletes, finished in the top two of the state indoor track championships.

Those who are against Yearwood and Miller competing claim it’s because their gender transitions give them unfair advantages from the start. Before races even begin, the outcome is predetermined at the top. One of 17 states that allows transgender high school athletes to compete without any restrictions, this development could become more prevalent in the future.

I don’t have a personal take on it yet. I think everyone should be allowed a chance to compete, but I also understand the reasoning behind the “it’s unfair” argument. Guess I have a lot of work to do before turning that paper in!

3. Bryce Harper signing with the Phillies and it’s being reported that he’s trying to get Mike trout to join after his contract expires after this year. How dangerous are the Phillies going to be if Mike Trout signs with the Phillies sign Trout next season?

For those of you that missed it, outfielder Bryce Harper and the Philadelphia Phillies recently agreed to a 13-year, $330 million contract that will likely run through the end of Harper’s career. One of the best players in all of baseball, Harper certainly got paid as such.

I’ve seen rumblings that Philadelphia could pursue Angels superstar and near-consensus best player in the MLB, Mike Trout. For clarification purposes, Trout is a free agent after the 2020 season. That delays any possibility by a bit.

With that being said, Trout will likely receive the largest contract in MLB history once he’s ready to take offers. If Philadelphia somehow snags Trout, it will be a perennial contender with two of the top players in the sport patrolling the outfield. That’s as scary a sight as you’ll ever imagine.

If I were a betting man, I’d say the Angels pull out all the stops either this season or next in an effort to keep Trout. I’d bet on him re-signing with the club and being an Angel for life.

4. Policy on how schools should decide whether to be out or not… seems like a trendy topic these days.

Haha. This is a good one and doesn’t tie into sports. Growing up in the USD #500 School District in Kansas City, Kansas, I’ve seen a lot. Watching school cancellations transition from a rare gift to a common occurrence has been fun, to say the least. I was once a kid who would comment on the district’s posts about how I couldn’t wait at the bus stop because it was too cold, I’d get sick, blah blah blah.

Those concerns are legitimate. Snow is hard to drive in. Ice is extremely dangerous. If temps are below 10º, that’s a rarity in Kansas. But every situation is different. Some kids have to wait up to 20-30 minutes for their buses to arrive. Others wait 5. Some have their own car. Some walk. Lots of parents drive their kids to school. Kindergartners aren’t going to arrive at school in the same fashion as seniors.

It’s a tough call. What about the students whose only meals come at school? Is cancelling worth depriving them of a day’s worth of nutrition or education? Or care? I am extremely glad I’m not in charge of those decisions.

Here’s one idea: when in doubt, declare schools open… BUT allow those who don’t attend to use weather as a valid excuse. Maybe that would please both sides? Those that wanted to go would still be able to do so, but the “you need to close school!” crowd would also be at ease. Just food for thought.

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