If you haven’t heard the news about Chad Johnson’s arrest and his release by the Dolphins, you should get up to speed first. And as I mentioned in an entry earlier today, I was trying to keep optimistic about Johnson.
Let me be open that I am against violence of any kind. I don’t condone any kind of attacks in public, at home or with anyone. So when I heard about Johnson’s arrest and what might have happened, I was hoping it was an accident.
It’s not that I am a fan of Johnson. I think he’s a pretty decent wide receiver but he also is an attention whore. That turns me off. But I never want to see anyone go through anything bad. But if Johnson really did attack his wife, I can’t go out and plead that he should be off the hook.
I have never met Johnson. I only know him because I am a football fan — like most of America. And like most of America, we know Johnson as the touchdown attention grabber, the TV show attention grabber, the loud mouth attention grabber, the in your face social media attention grabber.
But through all that self promotion, Johnson has never done anything to make me dislike his attitude. He doesn’t act like a slob on the field. Since coming into the NFL, he had never been arrested before Saturday’s incident. All what really stood out about him was his antics.
Other than that, I had no reason to really dislike him.
But his antics came with a cost. Distractions, which was the main reason why the Dolphins let him go, was a huge concern in Cincinnati and was what held him down in New England. It was part of his DNA. Teams either accepted it or not. Cincinnati held on to it long enough before it was enough. New England tried to close it up. Miami tried to coexist with it.
Nothing about his attitude ever came to me as someone that was violent. He never gave me the impression that he would hurt anyone in his family. But as Saturday’s report came to the public light, I wondered either if Johnson was violent or maybe, as he claimed it, was an accident.
So if he did intentionally hurt his wife, then the rest of this piece is moot. If that’s the case, he needs to be punished.
But if it was an accident, a part of me wants to see him back on the field at least one more time.
Johnson is too talented of a player to have his career end just like that. And despite his antics, I believe that he made the NFL slightly better and more entertaining because of it. There were good and bad touchdown celebration ideas. Same as his Twitter stuff. And maybe a TV show wasn’t the best idea. But it was what made him unique. It was what gave the league a unique character.
Throughout all of that, none of it ever seemed like it would be intentional to physically harm someone. It was just Chad being Chad. So naturally, I was hesitant to think that he would be so out of character (the one we knew) to do something like this.
And until all the facts are out, I reserve my ultimate judgment on him.
It’s tough to understand a man that allowed us into his public life. Most people I know prefer not to be in the spotlight, not making everything a huge deal. But for the few people I know that do like being the center of attention, they’re always a mystery. What really is going on in their mind?
Is the reason they make a scene is because they crave attention? Are they hiding something deeper? Are they calling for help? Or maybe they just don’t know any better? One or all of those might be Johnson. This weekend’s arrest adds another layer to the mystery that is the man once known as Ochocinco.
This league has forgiven players for their off-field mistakes and allowed them to come back and try to make things right. I’d like to believe that Johnson would get that chance. But before that, Johnson has to publicly make amends with his wife, publicly apologize for his behavior that hurt the Dolphins and if the situation is right, maybe return to the NFL.
But right now, I’m not ready for that yet. And he shouldn’t either. I want Johnson to get his home life in order. I want him to be a better man before he returns as a football player. And if all of that is fixed, figured out, forgiven, then maybe we can offer him football back. I’d like to be entertained one more time.
Deep down inside for me, I just want to solve the mystery that is Chad Johnson. Maybe then when I do, all of his antics would make sense.
And we might have some clarity to this weekend’s arrest.