Johnny Manziel talks hotel incident

ByJeremy Fowler ESPN logo
Saturday, November 29, 2014

BEREA, Ohio -- Johnny Manziel and his roommate tried to defuse tension "at all costs" after a fan approached him aggressively in the lobby of his condo building, resulting in a Cleveland Police report filed over an alleged fight, the rookie quarterback told the media Friday from the Browns' locker room.

Manziel, who opened his weekly media session with a nearly three-minute message, said an intoxicated fan "approached me in the lobby, putting his hands on me and kind of toying with me" as Manziel waited for the elevator to his home. Earlier in the night, Manziel had gone to dinner with his mother and his roommate, Dana Kirk, who is listed in the report.

Manziel said he wasn't disclosing all details of what happened because the incident happened so fast, but he acknowledged things escalated when he wasn't comfortable entering the same elevator with the fan, who is identified as Chris Gonos in the police report.

Gonos told police he was assaulted by the rookie quarterback and "his entourage." The incident was reported at 2:36 a.m. from the Metropolitan at The 9 hotel/condo building in Cleveland. No arrests were made and Manziel was not listed as a suspect. He was not interviewed by police.

"It was a very unfortunate situation, a situation that was tried to be averted at all costs, and one that [I] was unfortunately not able to really get away from," Manziel said. "I let [the Browns] know what really happened and wanted them to be on top of it from the very get-go. I'm very thankful for the Browns having my back in all this and at the same time supporting me on a situation that seemed to be a little blown out of proportion."

Manziel spoke clearly and thoroughly about the incident, adding that his face was not "smashed" in the incident, as Gonos told He briefly raised his maroon beanie from his forehead, likely to show his unmarked face, emphasizing that the media would have noticed if his face was bruised. Manziel said he's not in any trouble with authorities.

The only thing left unclear is whether Manziel took physical action. He declined details on whether he threw or absorbed a punch. Security "got things under wraps" and Manziel quickly got upstairs to his home, he said.

"I'm not going to go into exact details of everything that happened," Manziel said when asked if he threw a punch. "It was broken up really fast, and at the time it was more toward my roommate than it was toward me, the initial offering.

"After there had been some aggressiveness and hostility in the lobby, we didn't want to enter the elevator with this guy. There was kind of a brief pause trying to decide if we were going to get into the elevator and avert this whole thing or if they were going to go up."

The Browns said on Monday they were gathering information but that the "time of the incident was concerning to us."

Manziel said his lifestyle has changed dramatically since his arrival in the spring. He said he doesn't go out much anymore. This night, he did.

"One night I did get a chance to go out and stay out a little later, a decision I made on my own," Manziel said. "I felt at the time [it] was OK, and I know there are other guys in the league and other guys in this locker room that do the same thing and enjoy their time when they are out of the building. I know at night when I go to bed I need to make sure I'm ready and capable of going to work the next day and fulfilling my job and the duties I have in this building the next day."

During the interview, Manziel even thanked the local media for not jumping to "wild conclusions" about the incident.

Manziel said he is approached every day by fans and loves hearing from them, and that he and his roommate tried to handle the incident professionally.

"For me, I treat every fan the same, with a lot of respect," Manziel said. "I'm very thankful for them being the fans that they are. I don't think our league would be that without them."

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