Johnny Manziel's NFL career took another detour on Thursday when Browns head coach Mike Pettine announced that Manziel won't start in next week's Monday Night Football matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. The demotion to third-string quarterback after starting the two previous games is apparently a result of a video surfacing of Manziel drinking champagne at a club in Austin, Texas, during the team's bye week last weekend.
Pettine's Tuesday afternoon statement on Manziel alluded to the video and read in part:
Everyone in this organization wants what is best for Johnny just like we do for every player in our locker room. I’m especially disappointed in his actions and behavior because he has been working very hard. The improvements from last year to this year have been tremendous but he still has to consistently demonstrate that he has gained a good understanding of what it takes to be successful at the quarterback position on this level. It goes well beyond the field. We are going to continue to support him in every way possible, but at this point, we’ve decided it’s best to go with Josh as the starter going forward.
Manziel's drinking is a known issue. He has gone through rehab at a drug and alcohol treatment facility. The Browns supported his recovery efforts at the time, so to see Manziel clubbing during the season is undoubtedly disappointing -- something Pettine said himself on Tuesday morning. But it's noteworthy that the quarterback was apparently demoted as a result of his partying, but not while the NFL investigated a roadside dispute with his girlfriend that led to accusations that he hit her. Manziel played three games while the league looked into it.
Both local police and the NFL decided to not charge Manziel following an investigation, citing a lack of corroborating physical evidence, and Pettine did call the domestic violence allegations "disturbing" at the time, but the decision to let him play while the investigation was ongoing was surprising at the time, especially considering 75 percent of domestic violence cases go unreported. Any official report of domestic violence needs to be taken very, very seriously.
Following that incident, Manziel gained the starting quarterback job through an injury to Josh McCown, and just last week, ironically spoke about not trying to embarrass himself or his team anymore.
Too late for that.
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