It’s more than unfortunate in the world of those who love former Texas Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel to read of yet another off-the-field fracas that involves the first-round draft choice of the Cleveland Brown in a situation where law enforcement officials are called in to resolve a situation. On Nov. 24, Doug Brown of the Cleveland Scene reported ,“Johnny Manziel involved in massive lake fight late Friday night at The 9 in Downtown Cleveland.”
Here’s the situation: At 2:36 am, Saturday morning, Cleveland police were called in to investigate a riot that totaled a crowd of two security guards and 20 guys. There’s a popular high-rise residence, The 9, that many affluent pro athletes in Cleveland call home. Whether or not Manziel lives there, there was one big ol’ Browns fan, Chris Gonos, who was hanging around the superplex, with his girlfriend, because—according to the police report—he said,
I’m the biggest Browns fan ever, I love you, I want to give you a hug.”
Well, it’s not exactly a really good idea to show the love to at least one Aggie, when a group of professional athletes, hangers on, also known as an entourage, are there to have your back. Brown reported “Gonos stepped towards Manziel and was promptly punched in the face, the alleged victim’s (Gonos) account to police says, followed by a beat down by Manziel’s crew, giving the man a ‘swollen lip, right eye swollen, red face.’ A security guard intervened and also was hurt.”
It’s safe to assume that Gonos, who claimed he was partying to celebrate his brother’s birthday, spotted the guy he was excited to see, Johnny Football, and just went in for the hug. Turns out Gonos’ birthday-celebrating brother saw his little brother getting whomped and the story goes that big brother went in and tackled Manziel. No arrests were made, after the police arrived and all that hoopla settled down. Brown’s report has more details on the blow-by-blow.
Updates to Brown’s original story has a statement from Ray Farmer, general manager of the Cleveland Browns:
We are aware of the incident and are in the process of gathering additional information in order to gain a complete understanding of what occurred. Nonetheless, the time of the incident is concerning to us. We continually stress to all of our players the importance of sound decision making in an effort to avoid putting themselves in these types of situations. We have addressed this appropriately with the player and will have no further comment at this time.”
For Aggie fans, it’s just one more reason they wish that Jerry Jones could have brought Heisman Trophy winner Johnny to Dallas, or to the Houston Texans where Manziel would be surrounded by home-state fans who would know better than to rush up to show him a big old bear hug. And there’s another piece of information that note that Mr. Gonos had a prior encounter with the law, “pleading guilty last year in federal court to charges of ‘conspiracy to structure financial transactions to evade filing currency transaction reports,’ per the Sandusky Register.”
Is it a publicity setup? Was it a pro athlete beat down or scam designed to bring yet one more round of question marks to the team’s quarterback-in-waiting? Aggie fans who love their Johnny are not going to be happy. Aside from a story in today’s Bleacher Report, “Browns need to put in Manziel, so tweets Johnny Football’s girlfriend,” there’s no on-the-field accomplishments or achievements to discuss when it comes to Mr. Manziel and the Cleveland Browns.
On Sunday Nov. 23, Mike Pettine stuck with his number one quarterback, Brian Hoyer, and resisted the temptation to substitute in the team’s draft choice and was rewarded with a win, 26-24 over the Atlanta Falcons. For the Aggie fans who might have been yelling at the television, “Put Johnny In, Coach” perhaps today’s news report out of Cleveland might lend a bit of background information as to why the switcheroo was not made during the game.
This story could also be a prelude to discussions of a trade potentially blowing in the wind. Home state football fans would likely be delighted to have just a short drive to see Mr. Manziel next season. Time will tell. Meanwhile, it’s fortunate that no one was seriously injured in the late night, early morning weekend fracas in Cleveland.