How ‘fake’ is Manziel’s Longhorn tattoo?

It’s been a wild ride aboard the S.S. Johnny Manziel Longhorn Tattoo voyage. In case you haven’t been sailing the whole time, a photo turned up on the Internet of a shirtless Manziel with what appeared to be a tattoo of a Texas Longhorn on his rib case. Given that Manziel plays for Texas A&M, this is headline-worthy. It was also believable, because Manziel grew up a Longhorns fan.

Numerous news sites, including this one, reported that Manziel had a tattoo of a Longhorn on his body. And that’s true insofar as that marking is actually on Manziel’s body — Manziel isn’t saying the photo in question was digitally altered. But it’s not true under the traditional understanding of what a tattoo is, i.e. ink needled permanently into the skin.

“FAKE tattoo,” Manziel wrote on Twitter.

So what did he mean by that?

Well, it remains a little unclear, but Manziel (who is vacationing in Mexico) said via Twitter the Longhorn marking on his body cost him 150 pesos, which is roughly $12. So if Manziel is to be believed, we’re probably talking about henna or some other kind of temporary (“fake”) tattoo.

It’s the perfect middle ground of this little controversy.