CLEVELAND—LeBron James has dropped Johnny Manziel as a business client.
A spokesman for James said the NBA star and has ended his marketing agreement with Manziel, the embattled Browns quarterback whose behavior has him on very shaky ground with his team and Cleveland fans.
James and his associates at LRMR – long-time friends Maverick Carter, Rich Paul and Randy Mims – will no longer be working with Manziel after mutually agreeing to end their partnership. LRMR has been handling endorsement deals for Manziel since he got drafted into the NFL.
Cleveland.com first reported the end of the James tied to Manziel, who missed Cleveland’s season finale Sunday after he was spotted partying in Las Vegas over the weekend. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said the 23-year-old Manziel missed a medical treatment as part of a mandatory concussion protocol he’s following. Manziel was back at the team’s facility Monday for exit meetings, but he did not speak with the media.
Carter told Cleveland.com that the decision to end the business relationship was due partly so Manziel could focus on his personal life.
“I will continue to support and advise him as a friend,” Carter said. “However, because Johnny needs to focus on personal growth, the next phase of his career and because LRMR continues to expand beyond marketing, we made the mutual decision that it was best to terminate our business relationship.”
Earlier on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., James expressed concern “individually” for Manziel, who spent 10 weeks during the off-season in a Pennsylvania rehab facility specializing in alcohol and substance abuse.
James didn’t know the details of Manziel’s latest escapades, but believes the QB would be better served focusing on other things.
“I’ve heard a little bit of it and it’s just a distraction for not only himself but for everyone that’s around him, including family, people that represent him, the people around him,” James said. “He’ll figure it out at some point – we all hope.”
James has referred to Manziel as “family” in the past. When Manziel was a rookie, James brought his sons to one of Cleveland’s training camp practices.
Manziel has attended numerous Cavaliers home games in Cleveland, often sitting courtside next to Carter or Paul.