Sunday, June 22, 2014

Browns beat writer thinks Johnny Manziel needs to be evaluated for chemical dependency

The Plain Dealer's many sportswriters love to do the shtick where they answer questions from regular fans like you and me. In today's edition, Browns beat reporter Mary Kay Cabot fielded a question from a "longtime Browns fan" about Johnny Manziel: Is it time for Johnny to "man up and act like a Brown?"

Unfortunately, we need to leave aside the absurdity of the question itself. (What exactly does it mean to act like a Brown? How does one act like he plays for a team that has made the playoffs one time in 15 years?)

The really shocking statement came from Cabot's answer: "With the pattern Manziel has shown since being drafted, it's time to have him evaluated by a chemical dependency counselor to make sure he doesn't have a problem." Whoa.

Reasonable people can disagree about Manziel's behavior up to this point. Personally, I think the bigger issue is the fact that the off-the-field activities of a kid who is 21 years old are being breathlessly reported as if they matter. If this were ten years ago, we'd have no idea what Manziel was doing during his days off. As long as it doesn't impact his play on the field (as of now there is no reason to believe that it will), it doesn't matter. Other people have argued that it would be nice if he were using some of his party time to study his playbook or whatever, and I guess that's a reasonable opinion.

What is not reasonable, however, is for a reporter to question whether or not somebody has a chemical dependency based on some photos that have been posted on the internet. That's a serious thing, not something that should be tossed out in a "Hey Mary Kay" article.

This city's media has proven itself incapable of covering the circus that is Johnny Football in a reasonable manner.

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