An eager Cleveland Browns fan sparked a massive fight at The 9 when he approached Johnny Manziel and his "entourage" late Friday night, according to a police report obtained today by Scene.
Cleveland police were called to the apartment's lobby at 2:36 a.m. for a report of a "riot" involving 20 men and two security guards.
The alleged victim, 33-year-old Sandusky resident Chris Gonos, reported to police that he and his girlfriend spotted Manziel while waiting for an elevator at the high-end apartment complex, where many Cleveland professional athletes live, and professed his love to the rookie quarterback.
Gonos told police he pointed Manziel out to his girlfriend: "That's Johnny Manziel." Then he approached him.
According to the report, "at this time victim stated to the unidentified male, 'I'm the biggest Browns fan ever, I love you, I want to give you a hug.'"
Gonos stepped towards Manziel and was promptly punched in the face, the alleged victim's account to police says, followed by a beat down by Manziel's crew, giving the man a "swollen lip, right eye swollen, red face." A security guard intervened and also was hurt.
Kenny Didier, general manager of The 9, told Scene "We have no comment on any of that."
We reached out to the Browns for comment and will update with the team's response.
UPDATE: Comments from the alleged victim, Chris Gonos, about the fight.
"Yeah, it actually all started through me. We had a room — it was my brother’s birthday — so we were staying at the Metropolitan at the 9. We partied there, and at the end of the night I was going back up to my room, and I noticed the guy. I was like, 'Man, that’s Johnny Manziel.' They were trying to keep it quiet, keep it low, and I was like 'Johnny Football!' I was just excited. But anyways, I went to give him like a handshake, or dap or whatever you want to call it, one of his buddies like tackled me. It was going down, a whole bunch of people started fighting. It ended pretty quick."
"I got a bruised hip and a bruised elbow, and somebody hit me in the back of the head, too. My brother saw what was going on and he ran he tackled Johhny Manziel — I guess he got the sack and the fumble. He tackled him, yeah, I’m talking about he speared him all the way to the back wall. I was cornered; I was by myself and Johnny Manziel and like three or four of his buddies were all coming at me. (My brother) just came to help me out, and I guess Johnny sucker punched him while the security guard was holding him. It should be all on video."
"No [one was arrested], like 20 officers came and I was sitting in the lobby because I did not do anything wrong but be a fan. All these cops run into the lobby, and they’re like, “Who was fighting, who was fighting?” and I just raised my hand, and was like, listen, watch the camera, and stuff like that. I may be guilty of being a fan, but that’s about it. I even showed them the guy that sucker punched me and the cops walked right up to him, talking to him for a while, and they let us all go. They just told me I had to leave the hotel, and me and my ride, we left. Manziel never punched me, but he got a sucker punch on my brother."
"I know somebody else in the group smashed Johnny right in the face. Smashed him, smashed him. I watched the whole game to see if we could spot him on the sidelines."
STATEMENT FROM CLEVELAND BROWNS GENERAL MANAGER RAY FARMER:
"We are aware of the incident and are in the process of gathering additional information in order to gain a complete understanding of what occurred. Nonetheless, the time of the incident is concerning to us. We continually stress to all of our players the importance of sound decision making in an effort to avoid putting themselves in these types of situations. We have addressed this appropriately with the player and will have no further comment at this time."
Chris Gonos, the Browns fan in the middle of it all, pleaded guilty last year in federal court to charges of "conspiracy to structure financial transactions to evade filing currency transaction reports," the Sandusky Register reported at the time.
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