Everybody is talking about Johnny Manziel and the allegations that Texas A&M's star quarterback has jeopardized his eligibility by accepting money for autographing memorabilia. Today, The Johnny Chronicles make a feeble attempt at tracing how this fabulous dinner conversation started:
"Hey, Johnny Football agreed to five figures to sign a whole bunch of stuff," says a masked man we'll call Mr. X, who, before leaving the restaurant with the appetizers still on the table, imparted: "Pretty sure that's not cool, but you guys take it from here. I'm out."
"Oh yeah, no doubt. That guy knew what he was talking about," says Mr. Y. "That buddy of Manziel's, Johnny Football Circus Master Nate Fitch, told me the price for Manziel's signature was going up. That is, if it was ever down. Anyway, I'm with Mr. X. Gotta bolt. Let me know how it turns out."
"Hold my beer," says Mr. Z. "And watch this ... I gave Johnny Football $7,500 myself, and I've got video of him signing more gear than you could fit in a J.V. field house. And he told me if I told anyone about it, he would summon the full wrath of Johnny Football upon me. Too late, Johnny. Gee, it's getting hot in here. Mr. X and Y are waiting for me in the car."
"It's no wonder those guys were spilling dirt on Johnny Football," says autograph dealer Rob Rudolph. "After all, the Manziels released the eBay hounds on us first. Payback, and whatnot. And why were those guys wearing masks? I've got nothing to lose here. My name's Rob. With an R. What's with all the secrecy?"
(Fitch, looking pale, excuses himself to use the bathroom.)
"Hey, wait a minute. Jadeveon Clowney has a few hundred items for sale on the internet, too!" says Aggie Fan. "What gives?"
"Yeah, you're right," says NCAA President Mark Emmert. "We should do something about it. I mean, something other than letting Johnny off the hook."
"Near as I can tell, that Fitch guy, he seems like a budding professional hanger-on," says sports writer Wright Thompson.
(Fitch returns, color back in his cheeks)
"Ah, not to worry. Manziel will be A&M's starting quarterback for the season opener against Rice on August 31," says Manziel's new attorney, Jim Darnell, and his fabulous 10-gallon hat. "And by the way, Mr. X didn't know what he was talking about anyway. The NCAA hasn't even started an investigation. So what do you guys think about this investigation? And who's picking up the check, anyway?"
(Remaining guests look at Texas A&M, Manziel and Fitch)