The Johnny Manziel saga is quickly becoming the Cleveland Browns' Watergate.
According to NFL.com's Michael Silver, the Browns lied about Manziel's late season concussion. Reportedly, Manziel showed up to a late season practice drunk and the Browns placed him in the concussion protocol.
As Silver said in an NFL Network segment:
"I was with a Browns player yesterday. Johnny Manziel, going into what would have been a start late in the season, showed up drunk at practice on a Wednesday. The Browns lied and said he was in the concussion protocol. Let me say this again: The Browns lied. To try to protect, and, what I would argue, enable, this irresponsible and very troubled young man."
Strong words from Silver.
The implications of the lie about Manziel's drunken appearance at practice are unclear. The team could face sanctions, but who is responsible? Former general manager Ray Farmer and head coach Mike Pettine are both gone, but head athletic trainer Joe Sheehan remains with the team. The NFL might decide to open an investigation or owner Jimmy Haslam might pre-empt it and declare a scapegoat.
At this point, it's anyone's guess.
Either way, Manziel's troubles are well-documented.
Manziel has been in headlines recently for a domestic violence investigation. According to his ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley, Manziel allegedly slapped her and ruptured her ear drum. He also allegedly threatened murder-suicide during the domestic abuse incident on January 29.
From flying to Las Vegas under the alias of "Billy Manziel" to missing practice to refusing to enter rehab to the Browns planning to cut him, Manziel is in a dark place. Even his father expressed concern, telling the Dallas Morning News, "I truly believe if they can't get him help, he won't live to see his 24th birthday."
It's time for Johnny to get the help he needs, and for the Browns to start helping him instead of enabling his behavior.