After the alleged assault of his ex-girlfriend, forget about Johnny Manziel's football career: His dark situation appears to be at the point of no return, and he needs an intervention immediately.
In an affidavit filed as part of a request for a protective order, Johnny Manziel's ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, alleged that Manziel threatened to kill them both and ruptured Crowley's eardrum by striking her on the head. The affidavit was first acquired by NBC 5 in Dallas.
Crowley was granted the protective order by a judge Friday, around the same time Dallas police announced they would reopen an investigation into the alleged domestic violence.
No matter the outcome, there is mounting evidence to this end: Johnny Manziel needs help.
Is there anyone out there willing to provide it?
Manziel’s dad, Paul, told the Dallas Morning News on Friday, “I truly believe if they can’t get him help, he won’t live to see his 24th birthday.” In a separate interview with WFAA in Dallas, Paul Manziel said, “We’re trying to get our son better. We’re not there yet.”
There is a difference in those quotes—“we’re trying” to help Johnny Manziel vs. “they” need to help him. It has become rather obvious that someone must step in aggressively. It’s often easier said than done when it comes to trying to get an addict the treatment he needs. Manziel’s timeline points to that being the situation.
His agent, Erik Burkhardt, also cut ties with Manziel on Friday, issuing this statement within which he claims that both he and Manziel’s family have tried to come to the QB’s aid:
“It is with deep regret that after several emotional and very personal discussions with his family, his doctors, and my client himself, I have made the decision to terminate my professional relationship with Johnny Manziel.
“Though I will remain a friend and Johnny supporter and he knows 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. His family and I have gone to great lengths to outline the steps we feel he must take to get his life in order. Accountability is the foundation of any relationship, and without it, the function of my work is counterproductive.”
This has turned from a tale about an immature football star struggling to progress into adulthood into a disturbing timeline of an unraveling young man. The situation has become even more dire now given Crowley's involvement. If her allegations are true, Manziel is no longer just playing with fire in his own life but putting others at risk.
We—and that’s the collective we, meaning the media, fans and league—mostly have ignored what may be really going on here, all the while wondering which team might give him a chance when Cleveland inevitably releases him. Forget about all of that. Manziel’s career may not officially be over, but it is close and it at the very least should be set aside for quite a while. If nothing else, an NFL suspension could await him should any team even offer him another opportunity.
That all pales in comparison to Manziel's mounting legal and personal woes.
He checked himself into rehab last off-season, but it clearly did not achieve the desired results.His public life only has become darker since then, with Manziel himself unwilling or unable to snap out of it and a seemingly endless string of enablers content to film him at parties as his life creeps closer to a cliff.
Browns vice president of football operations Sashi Brown released a statement earlier this week all but guaranteeing that the team would release Manziel when permitted to do so, at the start of the new league year: “We've been clear about expectations for our players on and off the field. Johnny's continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization. His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules. We will have no further comment at this time.”
The Browns appear set on washing their hands of Manziel, which is their right and perhaps even their duty, at this point. But what happens when they do?
We've seen time and again how reckless Manziel can be off the field, allegedly now to the point of harming others. His father even warned everyone it might happen, long before Friday. From a 2013 interview with ESPN's Wright Thompson:
“Yeah,” Paul says one evening, driving in his car, “it could come unraveled. And when it does, it’s gonna be bad. Real bad.”
He imagines a late-night call, and the cable news ticker, and the next morning’s headlines.
“It’s one night away from the phone ringing,” he says, “and he’s in jail. And you know what he’s gonna say? ‘It’s better than all the pressure I’ve been under. This is better than that.’”
There is a naiveté in assuming that sports can fix these problems that, in reality, extend far beyond the sidelines. As such, the Browns often were painted as the wrongdoers when it came to Manziel’s on-field exploits (I’m guilty there, as well). The organization may have had a clearer grasp on this than anyone—a sense that no matter what they tried to do to get Manziel under control, his personality at the moment simply would not allow it.
That same naiveté offers the possibility that being released in the coming weeks will shake Manziel to sanity. Sure, that could happen. It probably won't. Manziel has drifted too far on his own to imagine him simply turning around and walking back.
This is bigger than football. Hopefully, he realizes that soon and those around him can get Manziel the help he needs, before he hurts himself or someone else.