SBD/May 15, 2014/Franchises

Browns Criticized For Rookie Camp Media Ban, Not Embracing Johnny Manziel Frenzy

Browns GM Ray Farmer said the decision to limit media access to rookie mini-camp this season "wasn't about closing somebody out, it was more about what we thought was going to be a good thing of giving our local media some access that no one else had. (But) it hasn't been as positively received as we would have hoped." Farmer said the team is "trying to treat (QB Johnny Manziel) just like we treat all the other rookies" ("Numbers Never Lie," ESPN2, 5/14). ESPN's Max Kellerman said of the Browns limiting media access to Manziel, "Your team, Cleveland, is finally relevant. No one cared about the Browns for how long now? You don’t have to worry about the locals, they'll be loyal. … You've got to worry about the rest of us. Look at the flex schedule, watch what's going to happen. You're going to get Sunday-night games, you're going to get Monday-night games. The national media is interested. Just enjoy it, don't lock them out." ESPN's Marcellus Wiley said Manziel is "used to performing well through a circus. This is an indictment on the franchise and the other players if they can't handle this attention" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 5/14). In N.Y., Bart Hubbuch writes if the Browns "weren’t interested in the 'Hollywood' part of the Manziel package, they shouldn’t have drafted him" (N.Y. POST, 5/15).

EXCITEMENT EXTINGUISHER: In Tampa, Gary Shelton writes the "circus" is in Cleveland, and the Browns "do not want you to look." The team is "dousing water on whatever excitement has come to town." Shelton calls Cleveland's handling of Manziel "amusing" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 5/15). ESPN's Dan Graziano said, "I understand the idea of controlling the hype, but it can go too far, and if you're Johnny Manziel right now aren't you wondering if your new team even likes you?" He added the Browns are "going a little bit overboard here in terms of the PR effort and honestly, it makes me wonder if this is an organization that is prepared to deal with something like Johnny Manziel" ("NFL Insiders," ESPN, 5/14). ESPN's Bomani Jones: "If you had to get Johnny Manziel and then tell the media to stay away, why in the world did you draft him?" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 5/14). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said the Browns are being "paternal" by banning the national media, and it is a "foolish exercise in authority." He added, "I'm sure it comes from the owner, Jimmy Haslam, who is very autocratic and he's taking too much responsibility." ESPN's Michael Wilbon called the media ban "the laziest, easiest thing to do" ("PTI," ESPN, 5/14). NFL Network's Amber Theoharis: "It's almost like they're trying to change the guy they knew they drafted" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 5/14).
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