When Johnny Manziel went into rehab last spring for ten weeks, most right-thinking football fans were happy that he was seeking the help he needed to deal with his alcohol issues. However, most of us in the content-generating business lamented the fact that a calmer, more sober Johnny Manziel would not provide nearly the amount of material that he had since his A&M party days.
That said, given how difficult it is for rehab to take the first time, we guessed that the old Johnny would return, and I suppose last week, he did. However, the fallout may be no laughing matter for Manziel.
Last Monday, Manziel was pulled over in Avon, Ohio, after spending the afternoon with his girlfriend, Colleen Crowley. The two were in an argument while riding in the car, and the argument continued after Manziel pulled his white Nissan over to the side of the road. The big headline from the entire incident was that both Manziel and Crowley had been drinking earlier in the day, an obvious major red flag for Manziel, who shouldn't be drinking at all after his stint in rehab.
The 9-1-1 call to police was placed by a woman whom Manziel reportedly passed on the shoulder in his car:
Yesterday, dash cam video from the car of the presiding police officer was released to the public:
The full 12-minute video shows and tells us a number of things:
1. Apparently, what set Crowley off was Manziel's wanting to go hang out with another one of his male buddies in what she thought was some underhanded effort to hang out with another girl. At least that's what the audio from the dash cam video seems to indicate.
2. At some point, Crowley tossed Manziel's wallet into the nearby field. Manziel said his wallet contained two credit cards, his ID and "plenty of cash."
3. The big thing that will get the attention of the NFL was Crowley's claim that Manziel hit her a couple of times. She did not expand on how she defines "hit" or the severity with which Manziel struck her, if indeed he did strike her. Manziel, for his part, claims that any abrasions Crowley suffered occurred when he grabbed her arm to keep her from getting out of the car.
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For what it's worth, Manziel received no citation for the incident, no citation for drinking and driving or for domestic violence. However, the long arm of Roger Goodell's brand of justice doesn't require an arrest by actual authorities. If the NFL's commissioner feels there's enough there to investigate Manziel's role in the incident and he deems the league's conduct policy has been violated, he can suspend Manziel. For a player who had finally seemed to at least be holding off his demons, if not conquering them, this is clearly an indication that, at the very least, he is a magnet toward drama.
At worst, he's conquered nothing.
Time will now tell if the league and the Browns see this incident as anything more than a misunderstanding between a boyfriend and girlfriend.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.