Cleveland Browns allegedly lied to protect a drunk Johnny Manziel
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns reportedly lied about quarterback Johnny Manziel having a concussion to protect him from allegedly showing up drunk for a team meeting.
It wouldn’t be another day in Cleveland without a news report involving Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel.
Today’s ball of fun comes courtesy of Michael Silver, who in a video on the NFL’s official website, reported that an unnamed Browns player told him that Manziel showed up to a team meeting on Dec. 30 drunk and that the Browns lied about it by placing Manziel in the league’s concussion protocol.
“I was with a Browns player yesterday,” Silver says in the video. “Johnny Manziel going into what would have been a start late in the season, showed up drunk at practice on a Wednesday. The Browns lied and said he was in the concussion protocol. Let me repeat that: the Browns lied to try and to protect, and I would argue enable, this irresponsible and very troubled young man.”
The news that Manziel showed up at team headquarters inebriated is not new, ESPN Cleveland’s Tony Grossi first reported that he heard the same just after the season ended, but Silver’s report that the Browns intentionally covered it up has pushed the story back into the spotlight.
The Browns, in turn, released a statement denying any coverup involving Manziel:
"“Johnny Manziel came to our facility on the morning of December 30 and complained of concussion symptoms. He was tested by an independent neurologist and entered the league’s concussion protocol. He remained in the protocol until January 12 after being cleared by the independent neurologist.”"
The NFL also weighed in, according to Ohio.com, as league spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an email response about whether or not the league is investigating the matter, “I would refer you back to the team. We do not have a comment.”
To his credit, Silver took to Twitter this afternoon to clarify his report:
ESPN’s Adam Schefter followed up with his own report, quoting a team source as saying that something was up with Manziel on Dec. 30, but that he was not drunk:
"“Manziel looked terrible. He wasn’t drunk, but he was heavily hung over on something. There was something going on there. This wasn’t some massive cover-up. What are you going to do? You have to put him in the protocol."
"“… He was not drunk that day, but he was [recovering] from being on something. I don’t know what he was doing the night before, but something was wrong with him.”"
The ESPN story also points out a key part of the story, which is teams take it seriously when a player complains of concussion-like symptoms:
"“People should be very cautious about suggesting medical personnel would deliberately falsify a diagnosis,” a medical source familiar with the league’s concussion protocols said, “particularly when a player’s subjective report of symptoms is involved in making that diagnosis."
"“Imagine if a player complained of symptoms and the medical staff didn’t place him in the protocol? Imagine how lambasted they would be. Medical care of any kind is predicated on a patient being truthful.”"
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The idea that the Browns would claim that Manziel had a concussion to cover up his drinking has led some media members to wag their fingers at the Browns, saying the team should be punished. Anything is possible, of course, and since it involves the Browns people will make the lazy assumption that the team did something wrong.
If the Browns did do something wrong, it was done, at least in part, to keep from further embarrassing a player who has been a complete embarrassment since walking across the stage flashing his “Money Manziel” sign on the night of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Of course, if the NFL does investigate this and decides that the Browns should be punished, it would be a fitting end to Manziel’s tenure in Cleveland.