While he may be without a team or a contract, the social media and marketing components of Johnny Manziel’s self-branded “Comeback SZN” are already well underway.
At this point, that’s not a good thing.
The latest instalment features the controversial quarterback, who’s negotiation rights are owned by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, rapping the lyrics from convicted domestic abuser Chris Brown while rocking his soon-to-be released “Comeback SZN” hoodies.
Manziel also appears to be back to his late-night ways. The two short videos were posted to his Instagram story early Thursday morning and feature Manziel singing along with two Brown songs in what appears to be a limo.
The optics of this are awful. Brown was convicted of assaulting then-girlfriend and fellow pop star Rhianna in 2009 and has since had numerous brushes with the law, many of them involving altercations with women.
The second clip features Manziel rapping the song “No Exit” from Brown’s “Heartbreak on a Full Moon” album. “There really ain’t no exit for me. So don’t be worried by my ex-chick, I know that you heard them stories…”
The line from “No Exit” feels like a reference to Manziel’s former girlfriend Colleen Crowley, with whom he was charged with hitting and threatening in January 2016.
He reached a dismissal agreement that required him to complete an anger management class, attend a domestic violence impact panel and participate in a substance-abuse program.
Add the hawking of the hoodies, the late-night posts, the limo ride and the outrageous contract demands made by his agent last week and it hardly inspires confidence that Manziel sees the Comeback SZN as some kind of redemption effort.
Manziel was largely absent from social media during his period of football exile and he was dead silent as the CFL conducted a review while mulling his entry into the league. He went eight months without posting to his Instagram account and tweeted sparingly (and innocuously.)
But he returned with a vengeance in early January, shortly after the CFL ruled it would allow him into the league.
His first post thanked his girlfriend. His second unleashed the #ComebackSZN hashtag while also chirping his former NFL team, the Cleveland Browns, for their winless 2017 season.
What’s been largely absent for Manziel’s social media presence is anything indicating that he’s interested in, you know, football.
The Twitter and Instagram accounts of many professional athletes — including CFL stars and Ticats — are filled with workout videos, references to the grind and statements about their love for the game.
Not particularly original, most of it, but a fair representation of their daily lives and commitment to their craft.
Manziel’s tone-deaf social media posts, coupled with agent’s contract demands, are rapidly eroding whatever goodwill and open-mindedness that surrounded his potential arrival in Hamilton.
Like most of Manziel’s missteps, they are entirely self-inflicted.
Better get those “Comeback SZN” hoodies quick. They may not last long.