On Thursday, November 17, 2016, former Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel reached a deal with prosecutors regarding a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from an incident with his ex-girlfriend in Dallas, Texas.
According to The Dallas Morning News, prosecutors and Manziel’s attorneys were working on a “possible conditional dismissal agreement.” Specifics of the agreement have not been released and were not discussed in the courtroom. The judge stated that there was an “agreement in principle” and issued two weeks for both parties to finalize the agreement.
The former Texas A&M Heisman Winner is accused of kidnapping, hitting, and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend. According to The Dallas Morning News, Manziel’s ex-girlfriend told police that Manziel “slapped her on the head, rupture[ed] her eardrum, and caus[ed] her to lose her hearing.” Additionally, she alleged in her affidavit that he dragged her by her hair and threw her into his vehicle.
A grand jury indicted the former quarterback in April on an assault charge. However, police officers who originally investigated the accusations did not file a criminal complaint against Manziel. The investigation reopened and then the case was referred to the Dallas County grand jury.
If Johnny Manziel were to return to the NFL, he would likely face a six-game suspension. According to CBS Sports, an NFL spokesman confirmed that the league is still investigating Manziel’s domestic violence case, even with the news of the case possibly reaching a dismissal.
The NFL has the authority to still punish players for conduct that violates the league’s personal conduct policy, even if a player is not punished by the law.
If you are convicted of a crime or subject to a disposition of a criminal proceeding . . . you are subject to discipline. But even if your conduct does not result in a criminal conviction, if the league finds that you have engaged in any of the following conduct, you will be subject to discipline. Prohibited conduct includes but is not limited to the following:
- Actual or threatened physical violence against another person, including dating violence, domestic violence, child abuse, and other forms of family violence;
- Assault and/or battery, including sexual assault or other sex offenses;
- Violent or threatening behavior toward another employee or a third party in any workplace setting;
- Stalking, harassment, or similar forms of intimidation;
- Illegal possession of a gun or other weapon (such as explosives, toxic substances, and the like), or possession of a gun or other weapon in any workplace setting;
- Illegal possession, use, or distribution of alcohol or drugs;
- Possession, use, or distribution of steroids or other performance enhancing substances;
- Crimes involving cruelty to animals as defined by state or federal law;
- Crimes of dishonesty such as blackmail, extortion, fraud, money laundering, or racketeering;
- Theft-related crimes such as burglary, robbery, or larceny;
- Disorderly conduct;
- Crimes against law enforcement, such as obstruction, resisting arrest, or harming a police officer or other law enforcement officer;
- Conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well-being of another person; and
- Conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL personnel.
Source: NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, “Expectations and Standard of Conduct”
CBS Sports provides an excellent resource on the details of the NFL’s new domestic violence policy, which you may find here.
If a team were to sign Manziel and the league confirms through its current investigation that he violated the personal-conduct policy, Manziel’s suspension would be the second of his tumultuous NFL career. His first suspension was due to violating the substance-abuse policy. The suspension was lifted by the league in October.
Although the conditions of the tentative agreement have not been released, inferences of what the conditions could contain are a possible requirement for alcohol or drug awareness classes, anger management classes, rehabilitation, or some form of probation.
Currently, Manziel is a student again at Texas A&M. He is attempting to earn a degree in Texas A&M’s recreation, parks, and tourism science program. Manziel is taking online classes while living in Los Angeles, California.
December 1, 2016, marks the date for the next hearing.
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Diana Moskovitz, Affidavit: Johnny Manziel Restrained, Beat, And Threatened To Kill Colleen Crowley, Deadspin (Feb. 8, 2016).
- Joe Sterling and Shawn Nottingham, Johnny Manziel taking classes at Texas A&M, CNN (Sept. 6, 2016, 6:22 PM).
- John Breech, Here’s how long Johnny Manziel could be suspended if he returns to the NFL, CBS Sports (Nov. 17, 2016).
- Naheed Rajwani, Johnny Manziel’s domestic violence court hearing ends quickly as attorneys pursue dismissal deal, Dallas News (Nov. 17, 2016).
- Tom Pelissero, Johnny Manziel reinstated by NFL after suspension, USA TODAY Sports (Oct. 5, 2016, 6:31 PM).
- Personal Conduct Policy, National Football League (Dec. 2014) (last retrieved Nov. 20, 2016).