Charles Barkley called into the 97.5 Morning Show this morning to talk about the Sixers and create enthralling radio, as usual. Towards the end of the conversation, it turned to Johnny Manziel, who Barkley feels pure sadness for:
As a guy who has a brother who is dead from drugs and things like that, it’s very personal to me. I feel sadness to tell you the truth. It’s like a bad movie because you know how it’s gonna end… You sit around and say to yourself ‘When are these guys gonna realize it’s not a matter of if it’s just a matter of when?’ Why do these guys keep thinking they can beat drugs?… You see it with Michael Jackson, you saw it with Prince, you saw it with Philip Seymour Hoffman. If you’re trying to beat drugs and alcohol, it’s just a matter of when you’re gonna lose. I feel sadness.
But it’s not just that he feels sad for Johnny, he actually told that to his face when they ran into each other in Vegas during the Western Conference finals. Charles tried to talk some sense into Johnny. It didn’t work:
So about a month ago, we had a few days off in the playoffs… So me and my boys went to Vegas for a couple days. So I’m sitting at the table next to Johnny Manziel. We had met before in Cleveland but I don’t know him, don’t claim to know him. So he sends one of his guys over saying Johnny wants to come talk to you for a minute… So Johnny comes over and I said ‘Johnny, man you’re screwing up your life, man. I’m not your dad, I’m not gonna try to lecture you. I’m just telling you I had a brother who passed away at a young age. Drugs and alcohol got him. It’s gonna end like a bad movie.
He said ‘Man I just like to have fun,’ and I said ‘Johnny we all like to have fun, at some point it’s out of control.’ I said ‘don’t screw up your career, and I’m worried about your life’… My mom, when my brother passed away, I thought she quit living after that happened. I felt bad for her, and I don’t wanna feel bad for your mom and dad if something happens to you man, stop being selfish. He said ‘You know what, I’m gonna try and do better.’
So it’s about two o’clock in the morning. I got the plane waiting at the airport cause I got to get to Oklahoma City. So me and my boys stay there for a couple more hours. I’m driving to the airport, and on the radio: Breaking News, Johnny Manziel arrested at a nightclub in Vegas… My friends, they were riding me like ‘Yeah, you’re a good mentor, the guy gets arrested three hours after talking to you.’
That’s just a great story. Sad, but great. One talk from Charles Barkley isn’t going to turn Johnny Manziel’s life around. No one talk from anyone is going to. It’s on him and his inner circle to straighten his life out, but it’s looks unlikely. Just yesterday, he posted a picture from Cabo (his money’s gotta run out at some point too, right?) taunting his father with a “#HiDad” and promising a comeback.
Like Charles said, it’s a bad movie.
Post-script: We use USA Today Sports Images for a majority of our header pictures. In most cases, when an off-the-field thing is the topic, we have to go with an on-the-field picture. Not in this case. You have to sort through nearly 50 images before you find an on-the-field image of Johnny Football.