NFL players gesturing with their middle fingers during games is nothing new. A.J. Hawk and Randy Starks both did it recently. Marshawn Lynch gave his own sideline the finger last year. Those instances generate mostly a mild response, more humor than anything else. When Johnny Manziel does it, however, the reaction is goes to a different level.
Manziel flashed a middle finger toward the Washington sideline in the Browns preseason game on Monday. The sequence came after some trash talk back and forth and lasted for all of about three seconds. Plenty of time for a few people to weigh in with hot takes.
Former players like Joe Theismann and Mark Schlereth were among those with an opinion.
Johnny football needs to become Johnny grow up. Should use his right arm to throw balls not give hand signals . Not a pro
— Joe Theismann (@Theismann7) August 19, 2014
Someone needs to grow up! https://t.co/Hq0iYtZ7Jq
— mark schlereth (@markschlereth) August 19, 2014
"It tells me you're not ready for primetime." - Mark Schlereth on Johnny Manziel's showing the Redskins the middle finger tonight.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) August 19, 2014
Sad thing about Johnny Manziel's one-finger salute: his fine will be a pittance compared to how much it builds his bad-boy brand. #NFL
— Tim Sullivan (@TimSullivan714) August 19, 2014
Browns head coach MIke Pettine wasn't thrilled either. After the game he said the gesture "did not sit well" with him and called it disappointing. For his part, Manziel said it was a lack of judgement. He's been in the limelight long enough to know that is the type of thing that will get blown out of proportion. That could explain why he reacted like this when talking to a member of the Browns public relations team during the game.
That was Browns PR guy Rob McBurnett probably telling Johnny a bunch of people took pictures of their TVs a... https://t.co/Fbi4DTAHzk
— Brendan Porath (@BrendanPorath) August 19, 2014
Viewers watching obviously noticed, but many Washington players did not. Several were showing each other cell phone pictures of the infamous middle finger after the game, according to Michael Phillips of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
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