COMMENTARY — It’s my fault, Crimson Tide fans.
It was the first time in four years that I ventured a question during the three-ring circus known as SEC Media Days. Previously, I had been content to leave the inquiries to the big-media guys, particularly the ones who cover college football every day.
But this time, with all the fuss about Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and his departure from the Manning Passing Camp the week before under somewhat dubious circumstances, the guy from the little bitty paper that no one outside metro Birmingham ever heard of decided to take a swing.
Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron had taken his place at one of the three tables set up in the corners of the main media room at the Hyatt Regency Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover. I knew that he and Manziel were roommates at the Manning camp, which meant that McCarron should know if what “Johnny Football” said about oversleeping was true.
McCarron was on a roll about how he had always been raised to represent his family name, his school and his team in the best way possible. Some pundits read that as a veiled reference to Manziel and his apparent failure to do the same.
I was a little more direct. “Two-part question: How has Manziel’s off-field issues affected how you conduct yourself, and are you buying what he said about oversleeping?” I asked.
McCarron responded with a line that was tailor-made for newspaper and Internet headlines, as well as television and radio sound bites. (And I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he had been coached by the Alabama staff to expect such a question, and to have a ready-made answer.)
“I can't answer on Johnny Manziel’s part,” he said. “My name is AJ.”