Johnny Manziel was released by the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes this afternoon after eight games with the club. Manziel also can’t just go get another job with a different Canadian team, since the league forced the Alouettes to cut him, then banned him from the entire CFL.
In a statement on the matter, the league said Manziel “contravened the agreement which made him eligible to play in the league” and that they “informed all of its clubs that it will not register a contract” for Manziel. The league did not specify what specifically Manziel did to void the agreement between him and the league, nor did they say what terms Manziel agreed to in the first place beyond calling them “extensive and exacting.”
Manziel said last summer that he was required to see a therapist every week, attend mandatory doctor visits, and submit lithium tests each month. Before the CFL allowed Manziel’s first club, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, to sign him last June, they conducted an “assessment by an independent expert on domestic violence (the CFL has a formal policy on violence against women), a review by legal counsel, and an in-person discussion conducted by the Commissioner.”
The Alouettes said they were “disappointed” by the CFL’s decision, also noting, “We worked with the league and presented alternatives to Johnny, who was unwilling to proceed.” He had two years left on his contract when he was cut.
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All of which is to say that the circumstances around Manziel’s sudden release are quite mysterious. Neither the club nor the league will say what Manziel did, or even what he was not allowed to do when he signed. For his part, Manziel seems like he is now going to try to play in the United States, and he recently expressed interest in the Alliance of American Football. However, it would seem overly harsh to cut Manziel and ban him from the league simply for exploring other employment opportunities.
We’ve reached out to Manziel’s agent for clarification, and we’ll update this post when he responds.
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