Johnny Manziel hasn’t played a down in the NFL since 2015, but he’s suddenly back in the news thanks to an interview he did with Good Morning America and his announcement that he’s bi-polar.
He told ABC that he was diagnosed about a year ago and that “I am taking medication for bipolar, and I am working to try to make sure I don’t fall back into any type of depression, because I know where that leads me and I know how slippery a slope that is for me.”
He was also asked about whether or not he’s drinking these days: “No, I’m not. Here’s the way I look at it — going back the last couple years of my life, I was self-medicating with alcohol. That’s what I thought was making me happy and getting out of that depression to a point where I had some sense of happiness. But at the end of the day, when you’re left, staring at the ceiling by yourself, and you’re back in that depression and back in that hole, that dark hole of sitting in a room by yourself and being super depressed and thinking about all the mistakes you’ve made in your life.”
There’s a lot in both of those answers. A lot about being diagnosed as bi-polar, dealing with depression, and the notion of self-medicating with alcohol. He sounds candid and if he really is that candid about his mental health and that serious about his sobriety, that is a great thing. I’m happy for him. The issues that he was having on the football field, pale in comparison to the importance of getting his life straight off the field. Because he wasn’t just self-destructing and hurting himself, he was allegedly hurting others, as the indictment for assaulting a then-girlfriend would indicate.
I really hope for the best, but to think that this is a football story at this point is ridiculous. This is a story about a former football player who’s battled mental health and substance abuse issues and continues to battle that. To think that just because he did a couple of interviews means that NFL teams are going to be lining up to sign him is absurd. I’m not even going to get into the physical issues he had in the NFL at this point because this isn’t a football story, this is a mental health story. And a story of substance abuse. And hopefully one with a happy ending, because for a long time, it looked like it might not. And by might not, I mean dead. His dad’s words, not mine.
Good for Manziel for speaking out and for dealing with his situation. That said, if he’s doing these media appearances because he hopes it will result in him in an NFL huddle, that’s reaching. Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t fault him for wanting that or doing anything he could to chase that dream, and it would be an unbelievable story, but there’s a long way to go. And just admitting he’s a loser and that he threw away the best life ever, isn’t going to get him another shot in the NFL. Nor is opening up an online store with his comeback merch. That’s a cash grab, not a complete commitment to re-building your mind and body. If you really are all about the comeback, then virtually every waking moment and thought should be dedicated to that. And selling hoodies on twitter about this alleged comeback isn’t that. In fact, it’s sort of a whack look.
I get that everyone needs to make a buck and maybe the sentiment behind the Comeback Season brand is something that we all need to hear, but if you’re looking to be a football player again, then be a football player, not a sweatshirt maker. Because it’s going to take all your energy.
I like J. Football. I mean, I’m shaking my damn head at what he threw away and will never get back. But if he truly is bipolar, and truly is sorry for what he did as opposed to just being sorry for the position he’s in; and is literally killing himself to take one last shot, I’m pulling for the dude. But if you’re conning us with a couple of well-placed interviews, half-assing your work and looking to move some merch don’t waste our time. I’m pulling for you bro, but I’m skeptical. Prove it to me. More importantly, prove it to yourself.