Opinion: Time to give up on Johnny Football

Matt Poe

Throughout the state, and especially here in Northeast Ohio, it won’t take you long to find someone wearing Johnny Manziel gear: stroll through just about any campus for 15 minutes and you’ll eventually find some poor sap sporting a “Johnny Football” jersey or shirt. If you see this person, perform the following procedure: douse the shirt in gasoline (after you’ve removed it from them, obviously) and set it ablaze in the nearest trash can. You’ll be doing them a favor. Why? Because it’s time we laid Johnny Football and his subsequent support to rest.

The soon-to-be unemployed quarterback has provided enough head-scratching incidents that an entire book could be written about his “antics”. I’m grateful no one has done so yet because it would be a waste of time for both writer and reader. The most recent incident in a career that is storied off the field and, far from it, on the field involves Manziel allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend and threatening to kill her and himself. Her attorney claims Manziel hit her so hard, he ruptured her eardrum. Manziel says the incident never happened.

It doesn’t take much to write a column about Johnny Manziel. There have been hundreds of columns written about the guy to the point that I’m declaring this the be-all, end-all of Manziel columns; there isn’t much more to be said about him, except the following:

For starters, I’m amazed at how much the public and media have continued to call his lunatic actions “antics”. It’s time we start calling it behavior and see him for who he really is: a self-entitled shmuck. Even Ray Rice, whose actions I don’t defend, has shown remorse and attempted to turn his situation into a teaching lesson for not only NFL players, but people, too.

Manziel? Not so much as a public apology or any ownership of the countless decisions he’s made, the latest being the worst. Even after this latest incident with his ex-girlfriend, we still haven’t begun to label Manziel as anything more than a punk or jerk. How many columns have you read about Cam Newton and his refusal to answer questions from the media after the Super Bowl loss? While I defended Newton last week in my column and then he displayed an unbelievable lack of maturity post-Super Bowl, his actions aren’t on par with that of Manziel. Yet, the columns on Newton come flowing in and the ones on Manziel are few and far between.

It’s time the sports world and Cleveland fans laid Johnny Football in his grave. They may have already done so after recent reports that the team intends to release him in March, another causality in the long line of unsuccessful Browns quarterbacks. Johnny Manziel, on the other hand, needs help. It’s easy and somewhat dangerous to play the role of armchair therapist as I’m doing, but Manziel more than likely has serious addiction problems he needs to address.

But like many of the people who struggle with addiction, he needs to help himself before others can and from the public’s eye he has yet to do that, reportedly refusing to re-enter rehab. I loved watching him play at Texas A&M University when he seemingly broke SEC records weekly. Even then he did some questionable and suspect things, but nothing of this magnitude. This takes the cake.

Manziel’s father was recently quoted as saying, “I truly believe if they can’t get him help, he won’t live to see his 24th birthday.” Come this December when Manziel will be 24, maybe he’ll have figured it out off the field because that’s the only way he’ll ever figure it out on the field.

As for me, I hope Johnny Football doesn’t live that long but I certainly hope Johnny Manziel does. Even if you won’t discard his jersey, leave it in the closet until he does something worthy of wearing it. 

For more information, contact Matt Poe at [email protected]