While it’s been a few years since he last appeared in NFL action, few football players captured the spotlight like Johnny Manziel. Whether you loved or hated the quarterback, he was impossible to ignore; he also didn’t have any problem making headlines, whether he was on or off the field.
Even in retirement, Johnny Manziel is still managing to make news. During his time with the Cleveland Browns, the quarterback apparently used an autograph session to curse out Darren Rovell; that created a one-of-a-kind collectible, which recently sold for $1,2000.
Johnny Manziel is no stranger to making headlines, both on and off the field
Under the modern media microscope, even the most understated athlete can still make headlines. Johnny Manziel, however, wasn’t exactly subtle, whether he was on the gridiron or away from the football field.
The quarterback started making headlines at Texas A&M, where he grew into ‘Johnny Football.’ After three seasons of NCAA action and a Heisman Trophy to his name, he made the jump to the NFL. In theory, he was poised to be the next star signal-caller.
At that point, though, the headlines started to turn. Heading into the 2014 draft, some organizations wrote Manziel off as arrogant and having more style than substance; others believed he was a uniquely competitive player. The Cleveland Browns decided to take a chance and find out which was the case.
As we all know, Manziel couldn’t cut it at the NFL level; he saw some sporadic action over two seasons before losing his job after an impromptu trip to Las Vegas. He then landed in the Canadian Football League, where he was eventually deemed a persona non grata, and briefly suited up for the Memphis Express in the Alliance of American Football. He’s since retired from the game.
Darren Rovell isn’t the most popular man, either
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Barring some national names like Adrian Wojnarowski or Adam Schefter, most reporters don’t become household names; the majority are probably unknown outside of their team-specific fan base. Darren Rovell, however, isn’t a traditional sports reporter.
Rovell, who currently works for The Action Network, made a name for himself at ESPN as their sports business guy. If you were interested in endorsements, memorabilia prices, new uniform releases and the like, he was your man.
That niche, however, hasn’t made Rovell popular; you only need to spend a few minutes on social media to become immediately conscious of that fact. In a field of grown men obsessed with stats and teams, he’s the outsider who gets fired up about financial numbers and brands.
“That is what people can’t stand about Rovell. He is the perfect embodiment—a champion, really—of the ‘corporations are people’ culture, where press releases are scripture and where the success of your brand requires the donation of your very soul,” Drew Magary once explained for Deadspin. “In Rovell’s eyes, a company like Pepsi is a kind of living thing—a constantly changing entity that takes in human brains and smashes them together into a larger superbeing. And his whole schtick is worshiping at the altar of that superbeing. Only it’s not schtick. It’s him, and I very much wish it weren’t. That’s why people hate Darren Rovell.”
Johnny Manziel signed a ‘F–k Rovell’ autograph and it sold for more than $1,000
Due to his star status, Johnny Manziel has probably signed thousands of autographs. One particular piece of memorabilia, however, recently sold for quite a bit of cash.
At some point, Manziel apparently autographed a Leaf trading card and, in addition to his signature, wrote “F–k Rovell.” While it’s not exactly clear why he wrote it, Rovell was one of the two bylined reporters on a 2013 ESPN story about the quarterback potentially profiting from autograph; Manziel was ultimately suspended for half a game after an investigation failed to find any proof that money had changed hands. Manziel has also called out Rovell on Twitter in the past.
Either way, that ‘F–k Rovell’ autograph recently hit eBay. According to his Twitter account, Darren Rovell himself tried to buy the card but ultimately failed. Someone, however, did pay $1,200 for the piece of memorabilia. It’s unclear if they really like Johnny Manziel or really hate Darren Rovell.