Oh, Johnny. Sweet, innocent Johnny Manziel. You finally get your big Monday night debut playing for an (albeit spotty) NFL team, and what do you do to show the world you’re the real deal? You flash your middle finger like a middle schooler. C’mon, man.
During the Browns vs. Redskins preseason game last night, things got heated. The first time Manziel got sacked, Redskins players were shown making the money sign, taunting the former Heisman trophy winner. So late in the third quarter, after Mr. Football threw an incomplete pass near the Redskins sideline, he appeared to exchange some words with Washington players.
As Manziel jogged back to the Cleveland huddle, he flipped the bird over his shoulder in their direction. Because this is 2014 and ESPN was televising the game, the gesture was immediately seen by everyone watching.
In a postgame press conference, Manziel expressed his regret, saying he simply lost his composure: “I should’ve been smarter. It was a Monday Night Football game — the cameras were solidly on me.” You got that right.
This doesn’t help Manziel’s fight for the Browns starting quarterback position, either. Even though Cleveland’s other QB, Brian Hoyer, suffered just as much in last night’s 24-23 loss to Washington, Manziel’s immature gesture makes him even less appealing for Browns fans and coaches. “It does not sit well,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said of the rookie’s slip-up. “I was informed of it after the game and it’s disappointing. Because what we talk about is being poised and being focused. That’s something we’ll obviously address with him.”
As for the Redskins, they were predictably amused by the whole incident. “It was hilarious,” said Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo. “We were messing with him a little bit, just saying ‘this ain’t college’ and stuff like that. We were having a little fun.”
No word yet on whether Manziel will be slapped with a fine by the NFL — the fine for an obscene gesture is $11,025 — but it’s pretty likely. Just think of all the bottle service that could’ve bought him in Las Vegas. What a shame. His apparent reaction to learning it had been televised says it all: