While Johnny Manziel — pictured above with a gaggle of coeds and Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots — is battling for the starting quarterback spot on the long suffering Cleveland Browns, it doesn’t mean he’s forgotten how to enjoy himself, or how to stir up controversy. The 21-year-old spent his Memorial Day weekend soaking in the sights and sounds of Las Vegas — something that is, apparently, unsuited to a newly wealthy (or wealthier, in Johnny Football’s case) young adult. Perish the thought.
“If I want to go out and have some fun and it doesn’t hinder what my main goals in life are, then I really don’t care what anyone has to say,” Manziel told reporters after an offseason practice this week. “For some reason, wherever I go people want to take pictures. They think I’m doing something wild when I’m just living a normal life.” While Manziel’s definition of a normal life might be different from some of the spectators watching his every move, it’s hard to begrudge anyone the opportunity to blow off some steam on a national holiday — even when they’re involved in a sport as allergic to anything other than one million percent dedication, passion, and other debatable intangibles like football, which is often pronounced ‘foutbawl’ by its redfaced fun police. There’s a reason why Nick Saban exists in unabashed awe and Johnny Manziel doesn’t, and it goes further than simply Roll Tide.
That’s why Johnny Football (Johnny Foutbawl?) made sure to capture the Browns’ offensive handbook on his Instagram, too. He knows what people would say about his micro vacation, and the caption “Guess it’s impossible to enjoy the weekend and study?” proves it. For a sport that’s so much fun to watch — and it is unarguably fun to watch, most of the time — a large part of its collective intelligentsia seems to exist only to parse and to scold. Those guys (they’re almost all men) love to rip on Manziel.
Manziel represents the closest thing the Browns have had to a nationally recognized star since forever (sorry, Brandon Weeden), and the team, to their credit, seems unphased by the increased scrutiny. The team, to a tee, dismissed the idea that this was worth talking about. Head Coach Mike Pettine said the team wasn’t going to micromanage its players, while Donte Whitner said that, had he been a rookie with Manziel, they would’ve gone to Vegas together. Clearly, the team recognizes that one debauched weekend in May has exactly zero bearing on the football season to come.
What about that TMZ video? The one they’ve so gossiply titled “Champagne Rainstorm?” Well, what about it? Are we supposed to be shocked, or even surprised, that Manziel went to Sin Ciry and engaged in Vegas appropriate behavior? Frankly, wouldn’t it be more worrisome if he’d gone there to exclusively study Cleveland’s offense?