This is a guest post written by: Joshua Mason
It seems that Johnny Manziel’s time at Cleveland Browns is up. New head coach Hue Jackson has deemed the Texan surplus to requirements, and there will be much speculation as to where he will end up in the off-season.
It appears the last straw came on the eve of the final game of the season, when Manziel was reportedly spotted in Las Vegas gambling and eating in a casino. It will be added to a long list of misdemeanors, but where does his rap sheet place him among a few of the biggest offenders of the league––both past and present?
Incognito represents that old fashioned school system, team bonding, community gel that is––the bully. In 2013 the NFL investigated allegations, made by his Miami Dolphins teammate Jonathan Martin, that Richie Incognito had bullied him with racist, homophobic and grotesque language. What ensued was a media storm of texts and interviews. The bullying reportedly made martin contemplate suicide. The Dolphins suspended incognito indefinitely as well as asking the NFL to help with their internal investigation. Incognito certainly paid for his actions and was out of the league for two years before being picked up by the Buffalo Bills.
The running back also found himself in a casino, this time Atlantic City, when his notorious incident occurred in 2014. A star for Baltimore Ravens at the time, Rice and his then girlfriend Janay had a night out in the Revel casino. Both were heavily intoxicated, something Manziel has been to rehab for, and were entering an elevator going back to their room. After a heated argument Rice hit Janay knocking her unconscious. When the elevator opened CCTV cameras caught him dragging the limp body out of the lift, and not knowing what to do. The footage went viral and Rice was handed a two match ban by the NFL. This caused huge outcry by the public who accused the NFL being too lenient. After more footage was released by TMZ however, they fully suspended him. Ravens duly released him and after agreeing to take court-ordered counseling Rice avoided jail time. He remains a free agent. The most unbelievable part of this story came after the event, when Janay married Rice six weeks later!
Arguably the most famous of all professional athletes to get into trouble with the law, it will be no surprise to you that he is currently serving a prison sentence. What will be a surprise is that it is not for the murder of his wife, but armed robbery. He claims to have been trying to get back souvenirs which belonged to him, but his means of doing so were deemed far too extreme. Of course most people will remember the case of his wife Nicola’s and Robert Lyle Goldman’s murder, and the Cinderella court case of whether the glove fits. It was never proven, but a book released in 2007 behind the shield of ghost writer, about how he would have done it, was reportedly overseen by Simpson. To add insult to injury, unbeknownst to most at the time, the case also gave birth to the bane of our times, as the Kardashians’ father Robert was O.J.’s lawyer for the case, and found mild fame though it.
Manziel may have many years left in his career or it may have already ended, in the NFL you never know, but his misdemeanors seem incredible, given the natural ability he has. To throw that away for a partying lifestyle for a few years would be verging on criminal. The media, however, should understand is that nothing he has done is criminal, which for the NFL is more common than you think. To ruin a career of a young upcoming talent would be a shame for all NFL fans. Manziel has the ability to light up the league and offer the kind of excitement no one else can, let’s hope himself or the media don’t ruin it for us!
Joshua Mason is a sports writer, and Dolphins fan, from London. You can follow him on Twitter at @AccuracastGB.
Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images