Football fans in Florida likely know Johnny Manziel for his time with the Texas A&M Aggies and the Cleveland Browns, but the quarterback has made almost as many headlines for his off-field behavior as he has for his game-winning touchdown drives. Manziel’s name featured prominently in another story not related to football on Feb. 25 when the Dallas Police Department announced that the 23-year-old signal caller’s domestic assault case had been turned over to prosecutors.
Police in Dallas report that they were called by Manziel’s 23-year-old girlfriend on Jan. 30. The woman is said to have told the responding officers that Manziel had pulled her hair and struck her head with an open hand during an argument that had lasted for several hours. The nature of the couple’s disagreement was not disclosed in media reports, but the woman said in a subsequent sworn statement that the blow she suffered ruptured her left eardrum and caused hearing loss that lasted several days.
The future looked bright for Manziel in 2012 when he won the Heisman Trophy and in 2014 when he was selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the Cleveland Browns, but struggles with addiction and poor decisions have plagued the young athlete’s career. Manziel had several scuffles with the law during his college years, and he entered substance abuse therapy in 2015 when his behavior during his rookie year in Cleveland became a concern for the Browns organization.
Those facing domestic assault charges sometimes feel that the whole world is against them, and media reports dealing with family violence often seem to revel in salacious details while providing little in the way of corroborating evidence. Criminal defense attorneys may point out that courts and reporters view accusations very differently, and the burden of proof that prosecutors have in order to secure a conviction is stringent.