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Thank you. Now, on with the silliness...
UPDATE: Could the video be legit after all? Could there have been some (gasp!) inaccurate statements to the press by a club DJ? Based on the release date of the song playing in the background, folks in the Watercooler have pinned the video down to sometime in the last seven months. The song, according to them, was released while Johnny was still in rehab. Plus, there's some detailed facial hair analysis. We, of course, still have the denials of the DJ and unclear response from Manziel as well.
What would this mean? Well, if it's actually true, it's a bad look for the quarterback, and it proves even tabloid journalists blindly accepting whatever they see on social media at face value occasionally stumble on something. Either way, it's a lot of uncertainty all the way around, but the damage to Manziel's post-rehab image has already been done regardless of what the actual truth may be.
ORIGINAL STORY: Before the advent of the Internet, the glorious Information Superhighway which you are surfing to read this article, there was not anything like a fratboy newspaper covering sports. If you wanted to combine People Magazine with the National Enquirer, Playboy, and Sports Illustrated, you darn well had to do it yourself with scissors and scotch tape.
Nowadays, of course, if you want your sports coverage laced with slide shows of girls wearing bikinis, there are lots of places to go. If there's a demand for it, the Internet shall provide.
Included among these bastions of New Journalism are sites like TMZ and Busted Coverage, which breathlessly offered this morning that Cleveland Browns new starting quarterback Johnny Manziel had been boozing the night away in Austin Texas over the weekend. This would be a pretty bad sign, especially after Manziel had intimated that his focus was going to be on taking a short relaxing break and then jumping back into preparation for Monday's game against the Ravens.
The most damning part of the story was a video of Manziel partying in a booze-soaked DJ booth, holding what appears to be some champagne in his hand.
TMZ Sports has obtained footage of the Cleveland Browns quarterback raging at a nightclub in Austin, TX on Friday night with a bottle of Dom in his hand ... the second night of a back-to-back bender.
I don't know whether TMZ or Busted Coverage had what first. I'd research it, but simply don't care.
Just one problem. It's old video, or at least that's the story coming from the DJ who posted it.
The Instagram video was yanked off the 'net, quickly resulting in big unplayable holes in a number of these stories, at least the ones not sharing the still-running TMZ video.
Manziel, who was spending the day working at the Cleveland Food Bank said the footage might be old and that he hadn't seen it while his agent tweeted out photos of Manziel in Columbus Saturday for the ill-fated Ohio State - Michigan State game. If Manziel had been on the second night of a "back-to-back bender" he didn't much look like he was feeling the aftereffects on Saturday afternoon.
Here's a photo of Manziel partying with some vegetables:
What's the truth? TMZ claims they have "multiple witnesses", but the video has been denied by the people in it.
We're left with a he-said/she-said set of statements and a video that might or might not be evidence for the tabloid story. Frankly, we don't know much more than we knew before the stories broke, other than that Manziel spent Thursday and Friday in Austin, and then returned to Cleveland via Columbus. Not much click-worthy in that.
This incident once again just shows how easy it is for bad information to get out there in the frantic publish-this-very-second world of sports journalism in 2015. Something appears on Instagram, a blogger assumes it's recent, and there you go.
But, you know, all the sites I linked probably got a boatload of clicks (i.e., revenue) out of it. So it's all good. On to the next story.
Here's a blow-by-blow discussion as the story emerged today on The Watercooler.