If you want to take a stand against the NCAA's blatant hypocrisy on amateurism issues, I can pick a million better places to start than a hotel room in New Haven, Conn.
That's where an autograph broker says he paid Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel - the reigning Heisman Trophy winner - to sign hundreds of pieces of memorabilia, according to an ESPN report.
Manziel hasn't spoken to the media since the allegations were made public, so we don't know his intentions, but if the broker is to be believed, the electrifying quarterback wanted the money for new rims, not because he was protesting an unfair labor practice by the NCAA.
Still, legions of NCAA critics have seized on l'affaire Manziel to pummel the organization once again and call for reforms of all kinds to the way it does business - all while excusing Manziel because, hey, the NCAA sucks.
Im not in that camp.
I think the NCAAs rules can be terrible and believe that Manziel if he did what he is alleged to have done should be punished. Just because a rule is stupid doesnt mean you have free rein to break it without consequence.
Some want to compare the NCAA rules to great moral injustices. Rules so morally wrong that not following them was the only way to change them and the system. Ive seen Rosa Parks name bandied about recent days. And the American colonists refusal to pay British taxes. Lets be clear: This is not even in the same stratosphere. And we should stop using those terms immediately.
If Manziel or any other college athlete wants to join the Ed OBannon lawsuit against the NCAA over the organizations sale of athletes likenesses, go for it. Youll find lots of support from here and most other places.
If Manziel or any other college athlete wants to practice civil disobedience over jersey sales or autograph rules, do it in public. Accept the consequences. Take a stand. Ill be cheering you on.
If they want to stage a protest or a walkout or organize a picket line this is, at its heart, a labor rights issue so be it.
None of that happened in a hotel room in New Haven, where if the brokers videotape is to be believed Manziel said he would deny ever having done the autographing if it were made public. Thats not civil disobedience. Thats not taking a stand. Its looking for a way around the rules.
Yes, the NCAAs hypocrisy is mind-boggling.
The organizations website despite claiming jersey numbers are not tied to certain individuals allowed searches by name until ESPNs Jay Bilas exposed it this week. Search for Johnny Manziel and, lo and behold, up popped a No. 2 Texas A&M jersey for sale.
Players can sign autograph memorabilia that schools can then sell, yet the athletes cannot sell those autographs on their own. Schools can sell game-worn jerseys, but players cannot sell jerseys they own or awards they earned.
The Manziel allegations have shone a brighter light on these unfair NCAA practices. They ought to be changed in a meaningful way. Nobody looks good in this case. Not the NCAA.
Not the autograph broker, who allegedly offered Manziel money for his signatures, secretly videotaped the encounter, offered to sell the video to ESPN (which refused to pay), allowed the network to see the video, ratted out Manziel and says he wont cooperate with the NCAA. And certainly not Manziel, who knows selling your autograph is against NCAA rules and doesnt particularly need the additional cash. He has put his entire career and Texas A&Ms hopes for a successful season in jeopardy with his reckless actions.
Real change is coming to the NCAA, which can no longer defend the way it does business in the wake of new television deals that generate hundreds of millions of dollars and is facing pressure from the biggest money-making conferences to alter its governance structure.
And real change is needed.
Just stop trying to tell everyone its needed because a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback might get punished for knowingly breaking the rules in the privacy of a hotel room for $7,500 in cash.
Brian Murphy: 377-6444, Twitter: @murphsturph