CLEVELAND (AP) — Floating on an inflatable swan was one thing. Being hunted by a police helicopter was too much.
Johnny Manziel’s hijinks have driven some Browns to the edge so they’re sacking the headline-grabbing quarterback for a month — or maybe longer.
Tired of Manziel’s off-field transgressions, the latest being a possible assault of his ex-girlfriend over the weekend in Texas, fans have started a “Johnny Free February” movement on Twitter.
“I’m done with him,” said Chris McNeil, a die-hard Browns fan whose 8-year-old daughter, Riley, came up with the idea for a social media boycott after hearing about more bad news involving Manziel.
“She asked me what we discuss on Twitter and I told her Johnny Manziel,” he said. “She rolled her eyes and said, ‘Why don’t you take the month off?’ Out of the mouths of babes.”
McNeil kicked off the campaign on Saturday night “not to tweet, retweet, or mention Johnny Manziel on Twitter in February or until he is no longer a Cleveland Brown.” As of Monday morning, McNeil said more than 1,000 people have signed up with some using the hashtag #JohnnyFreeFebruary.
“It didn’t take very long for it to take off,” said McNeil.
The tipping point for McNeil and others was the latest news concerning the 23-year-old player, who arrived in Cleveland with a party-boy reputation — he was photographed swigging champagne while sprawled across the swan in an Austin, Texas, nightclub — and has had two turbulent seasons with the Browns.
On Saturday, police in Fort Worth, Texas, were called to an apartment complex where an unidentified woman said she was involved in a disturbance with Manziel, who was not at the scene. She told the officers she had concerns about his “well-being.”
Police attempted to call Manziel and searched for him with assistance from the department’s helicopter, Air One Unit. Manziel was later found to be safe and in no danger.
“You just get tired of it,” McNeil said of the constant drama around Manziel. “You can’t make up helicopters. There are 32 quarterbacks in the league and ours is being searched for by a helicopter. That’s a Saturday night. It’s gotten to the point where it’s cliche. We’ve had enough.”