I’m going to go ahead and comment on it, even though I feel like I’m wading into a hurricane with a kiddie raft. I have been watching the drama unfold in Cleveland, Las Vegas, Texas and who knows where else for far too long to keep my mouth shut any longer: someone has to stop the Johnny Manziel downward spiral.
So let’s run this down with some highlights, er lowlights, and see what I’m talking about.
May 8th 2014 – Manziel is drafted by the Browns as the 22nd pick of NFL Draft. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said that a homeless guy convinced him to draft Manziel on the way to the draft. Seems legit.
May 24 2014 – Johnny goes to Vegas instead of focusing on football. This comes just after questions of his work ethic and character were brought up in the draft process.
June 6, 2014 – Manziel is pictured floating around in a pool on a giant swan focusing on a bottle rather than a football. Apparently there is a playbook stuck to the bottom of the pool.
July 4, 2014 – Manziel is in Vegas where he was caught on camera with something that looks a lot like drugs. I do not believe he was working on football here either.
August 18, 2014 – Manziel gives the Redskins the bird in a nationally televised event. Stay classy.
November 22, 2014 – Manziel gets into a fight in a hotel in Cleveland with a fan and members of his entourage. It almost feels like it had been too long since he did something, didn’t it?
December 23, 2014 – Manziel gets hurt and says he has to change in order to be successful. You think?
December 26, 2014 – Change is short. He throws a party and is late for treatment on his hamstring, although he is quick to deny there is a party.
January 3, 2015 – Flips off some fans at a club in Houston who end up taking it differently than Manziel expected. They drench him in their drinks. Cheers!
January 28, 2015 – Manziel decides that this time it’s really about change and goes to rehab.
April 11, 2015 – Manziel comes out of rehab a changed man.
April 17, 2015 – Manziel issues an apology to Cleveland, the fans, his teammates, the world, the universe and whoever else wants to listen. Everyone believes in the change.
June 17, 2015 – “Money” Manziel is gone. No more? Say it ain’t so Johnny. Maybe the change is real?
October 12, 2015 – Manziel and his girlfriend have an argument after drinking. The police are called because Manziel was driving like an ass and acting like an ass so his girlfriend tried to exit the vehicle while he was still driving. It’s now beginning to get dark. Jokes are now done.
October 25, 2015 – The NFL finally decides to investigate Manziel for domestic abuse. I mean it only happened almost two weeks ago!?!
November 23, 2015 – More partying and there is video evidence of Manziel drinking and singing. Instead of focusing on himself and/or football during Cleveland’s bye week he spent it on the one thing that is causing him to spiral out of control.
January 1, 2016 – Manziel spotted in Las Vegas at a casino when he was supposed to be going the following day to Cleveland to the team’s training facility for league mandated concussion protocol. It had been reported in various sources he showed signs of a hangover in practice earlier in the week.
January 30, 2016 – Manziel is alleged to have assaulted his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley. Crowley has filed an affidavit of protection from Manziel because he struck her so hard he ruptured her eardrum.
According to ESPN.com:
“The affidavit states that Manziel dragged Crowley down some back steps to the hotel exit. As they passed a valet, Crowley states she pleaded with a valet as the pair left, saying: “Please don’t let him take me. I’m scared for my life!” The valet responded that he didn’t know what to do.
Manziel took her to Crowley’s car, where she states she got in the car’s passenger seat “against my will.” As he was backing up, she jumped out, ran across the street and hid in some bushes.
Manziel made a U-turn to where she was, grabbed her by her hair and threw her in the car.
“He hit me with his open hand on my left ear for jumping out of the car,” the affidavit states. “I realized immediately that I could not hear out of that ear, and I cannot today [Feb. 3, the date of the filing].”
Crowley writes that the argument continued on the way to her apartment and in the apartment itself.
“I continue to be extremely concerned for my health and well-being,” she wrote.
The judge issued the protective order Feb. 4, the day after Crowley’s filing.”
The Cleveland Browns organization has been hiding Manziel’s real problems for years because of the promise of talent. With the partying it seems concerning that he isn’t taking care of himself and has some issues that he may be covering up. Now that he has struck someone else it scares me to think about what else he might do when he is drinking.
And don’t get me started about Deion Sanders and his insinuation that Manziel’s ex-girlfriend is the reason for all the problems. Sure, blame the victim of a ruptured eardrum and domestic abuse. Go ahead. Let’s not solve the problem. Why does anyone even ask someone who clearly has no clue?
If you’ve never read the story of Derek Boogaard Boy on Ice by John Branch, it’s time to pick it up. Branch examine’s Boogaard’s rise through the hockey ranks all the way up to the NHL all while battling his addictions: first with booze and then with painkillers and opioids. Boogaard never got the publicity or was never the figure that Manziel is however his addictions remind me of Manziel’s. Boogaard went to rehab multiple times and each time he came out he said he was going to be better and he was going to change but the only way he was going to change was if he was allowed to change and his team(s) never did that.
The Browns never made Johnny change. They covered for him and you can bet the NFL did whatever it could. The Wild kept finding ways to get Boogaard what he needed. The NHL would do whatever they could. Meanwhile both Manziel and Boogaard struggled with their addiction because they were stuck in the same spiral that only was/is getting longer, deeper and darker. Boogaard’s spiral ended in a tragedy and now that we see Manziel at this junction it scares me to think that he’s teetering on something that’s going to end in the same place.
The Browns are saying they don’t want him, his agent doesn’t want him, the NFL might be saying the same soon, his ex-girlfriend filed a protection order, his family is pushing back and who knows what other people are pushing back against him. I can only imagine that Johnny is fragile and there must be a million things running through his head. If he truly is spiraling, this is the time to get help, I just wonder if he will get it? Or five/ten/fifteen years from now will we be watching this on ESPN as a 30 For 30?