As Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel continues to develop his party boy image–drawing criticism from the media, past and current players, and others for his behavior–the player known as “Johnny Football” defiantly insists he is doing nothing wrong.
In a recent interview, Manziel says that he doesn’t plan on altering his lifestyle.
“I’m not going to change who I am for anybody,” Manziel said on June 27. Manziel went on to say,
I’m growing up and continuing to learn from my mistakes and trying not to make the same ones over and over again, but am I going to live in a shell or am I just going to hide from everybody and not do anything? I don’t think that’s the way I should live my life and I’m not going to do it.
I’m here, I’m very committed to football. I’m committed to my job, but on the weekends, I’m going to enjoy my time off. We deserve it. We work hard here. We’ve worked hard since the draft. We worked hard to get drafted and put ourselves in a good position at the combine, even after that, working to stay in shape.
Manziel, though, has taken a lot of criticism for being seen drinking heavily, partying like a college frat boy, dropping f-bombs into his “money phone,” and for being photographed floating with a bottle of booze on an inflatable swan.
The young player has taken criticism from such famed NFL notables as Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith, Warren Moon, and Joe Montana.
Such criticism isn’t anything new for Manziel. He was slapped with criticism during his Texas A&M college career, as well, some saying he took cash for autographs, a charge he denied.
Still, Manziel has many defenders. Bleacher Report‘s Andrea Hangst’s defense is typical. The blogger recently wrote that, “it does not matter what Manziel does in his spare time.”
Defenders such as Hangst are getting a lot of support by the single fact that the Cleveland Browns organization has been silent on Manziel’s behavior. It is hard to beat the logic that if the player’s behavior hasn’t drawn a public rebuke from management, it shouldn’t bother the public.
Manziel himself also points out that partying isn’t all he does with his off-field time. He calls that the criticism unfair.
“I mean, those are Hall of Famers, guys who I’ve grown up watching play, guys I respect and who have been through this and know what’s going on,” Manziel said. “Just because what’s reported in the media or what’s getting out on social media doesn’t mean that’s all I’m doing in my life. My weekends aren’t what I’m doing seven days a week.”
“That’s two days out of the week and there’s five to six other days when I’m here at this building going through my playbook and working out just like every other rookie is,” he said, “so nothing that I’m doing on the weekends is affecting my job.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org