Johnny Manziel, the knucklehead soon to be ex-quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, is a wreck of an athlete: He is accused of beating up his girlfriend and rupturing her eardrum. He skips team meetings. He drinks too much and parties instead of studying film. Even his father says Manziel needs to see a therapist.
“I truly believe if they can’t get him help, he won’t live to see his 24th birthday,” Manziel’s father, Paul said.
And yet Manziel, who has refused rehab twice in the last two weeks, has been given more than enough chances to focus on football. In fact, the Browns could be criticized for enabling Manziel.
And it raises this noteworthy question: What if Manziel was Black?
I wonder how many chances Manziel would get to turn his life around if he was an African-American quarterback? Robert Griffin III, the embattled Black quarterback for the Washington Redskins, will likely be released soon and he’s been a model citizen compared to Manziel. Super Bowl quarterback Colin Kaepernick, was benched by the 49’ers and may end up elsewhere, despite a mostly clean off-field life.
Consider this: Manziel’s family tried to convince him to check into rehab recently after his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, 23, told police Manziel hit her multiple times and threatened to kill her — and himself.
“It didn’t happen,” Manziel told TMZ Sports. “I’m completely stable. I’m safe and secure.”
Some folks don’t believe him. Last week, Manziel’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, announced that he will no longer represent Manziel, a signal that people close to Manziel are finally getting fed up with his immaturity.
“Though I will remain a friend and Johnny supporter, and he knows that I have worked tirelessly to arrange a number of professional options for him to continue to pursue, it has become painfully obvious that his future rests solely in his own hands,” Burkhardt said in a statement.
If Manziel was Black, would he still be allowed to play football after all of these serious off-the-field issues? I doubt it.
Manziel, who spent months in a drug and alcohol treatment center this season, has been coddled by the Browns. Manziel was paid about $800,000 this season and the Browns coaches were hoping that he would dump his girlfriend, get serious about football, and stop the antics, like gambling and partying in Las Vegas during the season, while, at times, wearing a blonde wig.
But the Browns kept giving Manziel second, third, and fourth chances. I seriously doubt if a Black quarterback would ever get that type of commitment. Even Jerry Jones, the controversial owner of the Dallas Cowboys, said recently that he’s a fan of Manziel — although he knows full well that Manziel is a complete mess.
If Manziel was Black, he would have been arrested by now for assaulting his girlfriend.
Now, after the most recent abuse allegations, the Browns have finally reached their breaking point and Manziel will be released and free to sign with another team.
Quarterbacks are the faces of NFL franchises; they are leaders on the field and often in the community. Manziel was given way more chances than his behavior deserved.
I don’t know where Manziel will end up or whether he’ll play another down of NFL football, but he first needs serious treatment — immediately.
Johnny Football is done for now. Perhaps Johnny Rehab is the future.
What do you think?