It’s yet another story of an athlete who has disappointed his team and his fans by failing in a very public way. This time, it is Johnny Manziel. Literally days after being named the starting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns, and getting some reinforcement on the importance of personal conduct and his responsibilities to his team, a video surfaced of him partying and doing exactly what he was warned not to do.
By now you might be checking the URL above because you could have sworn you went to the Bleeding Yankee Blue site for the latest and greatest news about the Yankees. Relax. You’re in the right place. So why are we talking about Johnny Football’s antics? Because the contrast is striking between this story and a recent one about substance abuse within our own team. Of course, I’m talking about CC Sabathia’s recent stint in rehab to address his issues with alcohol. CC got a lot of support from the Yankees, his teammates, and the majority of his fans. It was the right thing to do. You have to admire how transparent he was and how proactive he was in dealing with that kind of issue. Yes, it was the day before the playoffs, which seemed to upset some fans. But some issues are bigger than a game or a series, and you have to address them accordingly.
Manziel’s issues are certainly bigger than his game. You have to feel for the Cleveland Browns. They want to win just like any other team. They have a first round pick, they need a QB, and they take a kid who they believe will have an impact. It didn’t take long to see they had a problem on their hands. By the time they reached training camp, they had already spoken to him about his behavior and are openly expressing concern. Then he gives the finger in a televised preseason game. By then, Head Coach Mike Pettine realizes that this kid is not ready for prime time.
I would run out of room listing out all the incidents, comments, and controversies that have surrounded Manziel. His coaches met and yesterday decided to demote him to 3rd string quarterback. You have to admire their courage to demand better from their players. Let’s face it – the only reason he’s 3rd string is because they don’t have a 4th quarterback. They sent him straight to the bottom of the depth chart, which should be a clear message to him and anyone who is watching.
I get that he’s 22 years old, and maybe when he’s older he’ll have a chance to redeem himself. Right now, Johnny Football is living for Johnny Football. Personally, I am glad that accountability still exists in some places. Call me a dinosaur, but I believe you should work to be the best person you can be and that whatever you do, you should do it with honor and discipline. If you make mistakes, you don’t just pay it lip service. You don’t say things like “I have to take it a lot more seriously than maybe I did at first. This is my life and my job, and I'm 100 percent committed to that" and then fail to show up for a team practice 4 days later because you were out drinking the night before. You own up, take responsibility, and you do what you have to do to make things right for yourself, for your family, and in the case of professional athletes, for your team. You know. Like CC did.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
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