Is the media just too overbearing, or is it all about business?
There seem to be two different perspectives on QB Johnny Manziel right now -- one offered up by the our media correspondent at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere, and one by RB Ben Tate, who, as it turns out, was also at the event on Saturday. Tate flew out to Los Angeles following the team's OTA session last Friday.
SB Nation was at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere as a media outlet for the third year in a row. One of the things that SB Nation has coordinated over the past two years now is that they give rookie players a microphone and have them practice their interviewing skills on a fellow rookie. That is how this unusual-looking video surfaced of QB Tajh Boyd interviewing Manziel's hand underneath a table:
Boyd is literally talking to Manziel's hand https://t.co/Py3LfYo83S— ryan van bibber (@justRVB) May 31, 2014
Two sources covered the Manziel situation at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere pretty well in-depth: Ryan Van Bibber of SB Nation, and Lindsay Jones of the USA Today. I suggest you check out both of their articles, but here are some quick-hitter highlights from their articles:
- This was supposedly the only non-paid interview Manziel gave during the event, according to Jones. I assume that means a few of the other interviews that were conducted with him -- including this one with local TV station WEWS (all 15 seconds of it) -- were paid interviews. Jones said that through his marketing representatives, Manziel declined all other interviews.
- The incident above was Ryan's first encounter with Manziel. His second encounter came the following day, when SB Nation had given a microphone to TE Eric Ebron. Ebron went over to talk to WR Mike Evans and QB Johnny Manziel, and that's when this happened:
[Ebron] found Manziel and Mike Evans sitting in one of the tents along the field. Before Ebron could ask a few jovial, non-threatening questions of the Browns rookie quarterback, we were chased away by one of Manziel's handlers. We asked why Ebron and the rest of us had to stop taping Manziel and move along.
"Because." That's all we got for an explanation.
There has been talk about the Browns trying to curb over-the-top media coverage of Manziel, but this is Manziel's representatives putting a stop to an opportunity for more exposure (or rather, exposure in which a price isn't involved).
In Jones' article, Tate chimes in about the hype surrounding Manziel, and says he doesn't get it -- at the same time, he throws his support firmly in the corner of QB Brian Hoyer.
Tate, who has gone through two weeks of organized team activities with Manziel, doesn't understand the fuss surrounding the quarterback -- given that when they are back in Cleveland, Manziel is behind Brian Hoyer (and sometimes Tyler Thigpen) on the quarterback depth chart.
"He had success early in his career when he was at (Texas) A&M, he won the Heisman or whatever, but there are lots of people that have won the Heisman. I mean, Mark Ingram won the Heisman and I don't see everyone all excited when he got to the league. Right now, I would say it's Brian's team. Until (Manziel) comes in and shows otherwise and can take that position from him. ... The guy has been there, the guys know him, are comfortable with him."
Tate later took to Twitter to defend his remarks:
And for ppl trying to say I dissed Johnny I got 1 finger up to yall and it's not my pointer. My point was I'm sure he is tired of it all— Ben Tate (@BenTateRB) June 3, 2014
And just wants to be left alone to play football y'all too worried about what he does in his everyday life that's all I was saying— Ben Tate (@BenTateRB) June 3, 2014
The issue here is that it's a battle that's not worth fighting. We drafted Manziel with the media darling baggage reputation associated with him, and I'm perfectly fine with that. Trying to tone that reputation down (beyond what the Browns have already done) simply isn't going to work.