Johnny Manziel Responds to Criticism by Partying With Justin Bieber
"The spotlight is 10 times brighter and 10 times hotter than I thought it was two months ago. I guess I feel like Justin Bieber or something. I never thought it would really be that way." -- Johnny Manziel, 2013 SEC Media Day
Photo by Marco Torres Just the type of guy you want hanging out with an NFL quarterback who loves to party
Irony, thy name is Johnny.
For the past three weeks, former NFL players ranging from Hall of Famers (Emmitt Smith, Joe Montana, Warren Moon and Monday it was Joe Namath) to complete scrubs (Akili Smith is still alive?) have lined up to give their opinions on what exactly Johnny Manziel needs to do to comply with the NFL code of "rookie future franchise quarterbacks not completely alienating their current employer."
Remedies have ranged anywhere from "lock him in the top of a guarded bell tower" (paraphrasing Smith) to "dude, have your fun, but drink from a cup, not the entire bottle" (paraphrasing Moon and Namath).
For their part, the Cleveland Browns (whose opinion matters more than any of the ones above) have remained publicly supportive, although there have been rumblings of discontent at the highest levels:
ESPN's Chris Mortensen said Friday that Manziel's latest party appearance, in which he confuses a stack of cash for a telephone , "did not sit well with the owner Jimmy Haslam, who did instruct his staff to at least have a talk with Johnny about being more savvy as he deals with social media," according to a Cleveland.com report .
"We know you're young. We know you're single," Mortensen added. "Joe Montana himself said that Bill Walsh pulled him aside, and that was before the age of social media. Johnny Manziel has been told to tone it down, and to watch what goes up on social media."
Manziel's response to the heightened concerned was passive defiance. At a Play 60 event late last week, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner had this to say:
"I don't think I'm doing anything wrong. I'm going out. Everybody goes out on the weekends and enjoys their life and lives their life. And just for them, they don't have people that when they walk into a place pull out their phones and all they want to do is follow me around and record everything. My situation is unique and different and now more than ever I've seen that it's an every weekend thing wherever I'm at -- whether it's in Cleveland on a weekend, or in Dallas or anywhere on a weekend, people want to record what I'm doing because they think it's a story. I'm not doing anything that's putting myself in a harmful situation."