A grand jury is expected to sign off on the indictment on Tuesday, at which point Manziel and his attorney will post a bond and await the trial. A misdemeanor in Texas carries the possibility of a fine up to $4,000 and one year in jail.
The indictment stems from a domestic dispute between Manziel and his ex-girlfriend in January. At the time of the dispute, police decided to present evidence to the grand jury instead of arresting Manziel.
The details in the police affidavit, in which his ex-girlfriend is requesting a protective order, are extremely disturbing. The incident began when Manziel and his girlfriend returned to his room after a night of partying, and she confronted him about another woman. He then threw her on the bed and restrained her:
Still being restrained, [Manziel] led me down the back stairway to the valet, presumably to take me to my car… Although I did not want him to take me to my car, he would not take “no” for an answer. When we got to the valet, I was crying, and begged the valet, “Please don’t let him take me. I’m scared for my life!” The valet replied, “I don’t know what to do” and proceeded to let [Manziel] literally throw me in the front passenger seat of his car and he went around and got in the driver’s seat.
On McKinney Street… we both got into my car, against my will, with me in the passenger seat. As [Manziel] was backing out of the parking spot, I jumped out of the car and ran across the street and hid behind some bushes. He flipped a U-turn and pulled right in to where I was hiding. He grabbed me by my hair and threw me back into the car and got back in himself. He hit me with his open hand on my left ear for jumping out of the car. I realized immediately that I could not hear out of that ear, and I still cannot today, two days later. Fearful for my life, I hit [Manziel] several times, hoping I could back out of the car. [Manziel] threw me off of him and I hit my head on the car window and I fell into the passenger floorboard. Still fearful of my life, I stayed on the floorboard motionless until [Manziel] pulled me back on to the seat.
A judge granted that protective order, which mandates that Manziel has to stay away from his ex and her apartment until February 3, 2018, pay $12,500 in attorney’s fees, and is unable to possess a firearm until the order expires. There has reportedly been a civil settlement between the two, though no details of that agreement have been released.
The allegations against Manziel from the January incident are very similar to a police report stemming from an altercation with the same woman last October.
In that incident, multiple people called 911 after seeing Manziel driving erratically and arguing with his girlfriend in Avon, Ohio. She told police officers that Manziel “pushed her head against the glass of the car” and “hit her a couple of times in the car.” She also said that Manziel refused to let her have her phone, and she could be heard in a dashcam video saying, “I’m in fear for my life.”
However, the police report noted that the girlfriend seemed intoxicated while Manziel didn’t — though Manziel, who had spent 10 weeks at a drug and alcohol treatment center earlier in the year, admitted to having a couple of drinks — and suspended the investigation without pressing charges. The NFL also conducted an independent investigation into that incident, but said it did not find grounds for punishment. He was promoted to starting quarterback by the Browns soon after the incident, but was later benched for partying.
In the past few months, Manziel has been cut by the Cleveland Browns, dropped by two agents and Nike, and repeatedly been featured on TMZ videos while he is out partying. No teams have shown serious interest in signing him.
But throughout all of his struggles, the domestic violence allegations have been treated as an afterthought.
At the Super Bowl in February, Hall of Famer Deion Sanders said that his relationship with his girlfriend was Manziel’s primary problem and described it as “inflammatory.”
“Because he feels as though this game don’t love him, the people in this game don’t love him, so the only thing that he associates with love is that thing that’s really inflicting a lot of pain on him and that’s his girlfriend,” Sanders said. “It’s hard to be a young kid. You have to go through these trials and tribulations to find yourself and that’s what he doing right now. He’s trying to find himself. And I empathize with him. Johnny’s girlfriend. That’s his issue.’’
In a profile of Manziel’s downfall by the New York Times on Sunday, the domestic violence allegations weren’t mentioned until the 22nd paragraph.
“I’m hoping to take care of the issues in front of me right now so I can focus on what I have to do if I want to play in 2016,” Manziel said last week in a statement provided to USA TODAY Sports. “I also continue to be thankful to those who really know me and support me.”