The Johnny Manziel story just got a lot more interesting. According to ESPN’s Joe Schad, there is video of Manziel speaking with an autograph broker who allegedly paid the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback $7,500 in exchange for signing approximately 300 helmets of different sizes.
The broker told ESPN that there were videos of the signing sessions that were to be used as proofs and Joe Schad was able to watch the nearly 9 minute video.
On the videos, which the broker said were recorded without Manziel’s knowledge, ESPN heard Manziel say “you never did a signing with me” and that if the broker were to tell anyone, he would refuse to deal with him again in the future. Manziel, who appeared comfortable throughout the video recordings, also said if asked, he would say he had simply been approached by various autograph seekers.
At one point, ESPN heard a broker ask Manziel if he would take additional cash to sign with special inscriptions, but Manziel declined, indicating he had done that before and it led to questions. The video does not show Manziel accepting cash, which the broker alleges happened three times. The broker told ESPN Manziel said he wanted money for new rims for his vehicle.
According to the broker, the autograph signings took place while Manziel was attending the Walter Camp Football Foundation event. Time for the three separate sessions totaled an hour.
The broker made it very clear that he has no intention of cooperating with the NCAA investigation.
While the videos and conversation could be significant evidence in the probe, it will still be hard to punish Manziel unless there is actual proof that money was exchanged.