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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cleveland Browns Johnny Manziel is no villain, just a dumb rookie

Alan Greenwood

Good thing His Highness, King James, didn’t get nabbed flipping someone the bird. ESPN would’ve cancelled all non-Lebron programming for the rest of the week.

Cleveland’s newest sports obsession, Johnny Manziel, would-be quarterback for the Browns, did not help his campaign for the starting job Monday night. After being led into the Washington sideline on a freelance scramble, resulting in an incomplete pass, Manziel made his one-finger salute over his shoulder as he trotted away from whoever said something sufficiently powerful as to briefly steal the rookie’s good senses. ...

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Good thing His Highness, King James, didn’t get nabbed flipping someone the bird. ESPN would’ve cancelled all non-Lebron programming for the rest of the week.

Cleveland’s newest sports obsession, Johnny Manziel, would-be quarterback for the Browns, did not help his campaign for the starting job Monday night. After being led into the Washington sideline on a freelance scramble, resulting in an incomplete pass, Manziel made his one-finger salute over his shoulder as he trotted away from whoever said something sufficiently powerful as to briefly steal the rookie’s good senses.

After the game Manziel said he and a few Redskins players exchanged words and he suffered a “lapse in judgment.”

His coach, Mike Pettine, said pretty much the same thing.

One of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s helpers will, no doubt, be contacting Manziel to tell him how much he is being fined and where to send the check.

End of story? Probably not, unfortunately. It should be, since given any sort of perspective, it is worth little more than an ambivalent shrug.

In our age of media overkill, in reporting everything we could possible want to know about our celebrity athletes (and lots that we don’t need to know), this story has the legs of a linebacker. It will fade slowly, but will then be regurgitated with every Johnny Football story for at least a few months.

And before anyone begins to articulate the inevitable self-righteous position that little kids are looking up to Manziel, tell those kids to look elsewhere for someone to emulate.

There are plenty of better qualified role models out there than a rookie football player who became famous and rich at an age when most young men have barely begun meandering down the road toward maturity.

PAY TO PLAY: Attention to anyone who does not consider the National Football League the most powerful sports entity on the planet:

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the league asked at least two of its candidates to perform in the Super Bowl halftime show to pay for the privilege.

Everyone in the NFL’s Manhattan offices should be tested for HED’s – hubris enhancing drugs.

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF TOWN: Major League Baseball, which has given away most of its bureaucratic leverage, should do everyone a favor and wipe Rule 7.13 from the books.

That is the rule prohibiting catchers from blocking a baserunner’s path to home plate when not in possession of the ball. Putting the umpires on the spot in trying to translate the rule’s intentions while preserving a catcher’s ability to keep a run from coming has been farcical.

And last week, the replay arbiters in MLB’s bat cave showed they aren’t much better at grasping the rule. They took two nearly identical plays at the plate and ruled one safe and one out.

TIME TRAVEL: Aug. 20, 1974 – Gerald Ford chose Nelson Rockefeller as his vice president, the Red Sox had a five-game lead over second-place Cleveland in the American League East, and Alvirne High School had a new boys soccer coach, Dennis Boisvert, replacing Albert “Andy” Buswell.

Alvirne made it to the tournament and lost to Oyster River in the second round.

That was a happier ending than the Red Sox’, who collapsed over the season’s final six weeks (going 17-28) and finished third, behind the Orioles and the Yankees.

Alan Greenwood can be reached at 594-6427 or agreenwood@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Greenwood on Twitter (@Telegraph_AlanG).