It appears Johnny Manziel doesn’t like getting heckled.
The Cleveland Browns quarterback was verbally harassed by a fan at the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tournament in Irving, Texas, on Saturday. The fan, 18, was in Manziel’s ear throughout the day, prompting Manziel to throw a water bottle in his direction.
More heckling ensued, and one of Manziel’s friends then pushed the fan, who decided not to press charges.
Still, what do we make of this latest Manziel dust-up?
“You know what? I think it’s mostly much ado about nothing,” Cleveland Plain Dealer Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It’s a little bit of a cautionary tale that Johnny still is a target for people when he goes places. He’s still going to get heckled. He’s still going to get harassed by fans in certain situations, and he has to be very, very careful. I think this is another one of those situations. It tested his after-care program and things like that. I do think that from now on when he finds himself in a situation where he even starts to feel a little uncomfortable with how someone is approaching him or treating him, he needs to remove himself from that situation as fast as possible.”
One must wonder why Manziel doesn’t have security at all times – or why the Browns haven’t forced Manziel to have security at all times.
“I think he does surround himself with some of his friends, and he doesn’t really go anywhere alone,” Cabot said. “So he was surrounded by people that did have his back again in this situation. But I think they probably just let it go on a little bit too long to the point where he escalated and ended up throwing the water bottle . . . and then it escalated a little more and police got involved.
“There are going to be bumps in the road with Johnny Manziel,” Cabot continued. “It’s not going to be a perfect trajectory upwards to greatness. There’s going to be some setbacks along the way if he’s going to make it in the NFL. I think the Browns know that, Johnny knows that and hopefully this is just a minor blip.”
But why? Didn’t Manziel go to rehab to quell, if not eradicate, situations like this? Throwing a water bottle is a minor incident, sure, but it doesn’t happen to other quarterbacks.
“Again, it’s part of the Johnny Manziel package,” Cabot said. “It’s what you get. I’m sure when he was in there – that in addition to working through whatever other issues he may have had with substances or whatever the case may be – I’m sure he worked on personality flaws and character flaws like anger management and things like that. He’s had a history of losing his temper here and there. So I do think that it’s a work in progress, and I think many people – if provoked and harassed like that – might do something that they regret later. And I’m sure he does. But again, he’s not going to walk out of rehab and be a completely 100 percent changed man. It takes time.”
The same can be said for Manziel’s play on the field, as the improv extraordinaire is working to improve his play from the pocket. He recently threw an interception in practice, but that will likely happen a lot this season – and not just from Manziel.
“All of the quarterbacks on this team are going to get picked off,” Cabot said. “They’re working against a really, really good secondary. They finished second in the NFL with their 21 interceptions. It’s going to happen. It’s practice. The defense is ahead of the offense. It was nothing to be alarmed about, and you cannot make bold declarations about one OTA practice.”