If our new colleague Lowetide can discuss the starting rotation of the 1978 Montreal Expos and somehow relate it to hockey, we can talk about the train wreck wrapped in a image disaster that is the situation between Chad Johnson and the Cincinnati Bengals.
We love a good story of athletes behaving badly. There is nothing more entertaining to us than a multimillionaire declaring he is unfairly treated and holding out, lashing out or freaking out about the unfairity of the situation.
Take Chad Johnson – wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. Johnson is a big deal receiver for a team that annually sucks the big one. Though he is being thrown to by the likes of Carson Palmer and Jon Kitna, Johnson has been able to cobble together a pretty decent career, holding six franchise records in Cincinnati and being named to the Pro Bowl on numerous occasions.
The thing is this: Chad Johnson is crazy. Like Britney Spears when she kept showing her bits crazy. And he isn’t crazy like “I stay at home and train stray cats to act out the fourth season of Friends crazy.” He is crazy in the sense of “I want to piss off my team mates, my team, my league, my fans and most of the sports following western world crazy.” And it is one hell of a show Lambs.
Chad Johnson has decided – partially to enrage Cincinnati and partially because of the aforementioned craziness – that he no longer answers to the name Chad Johnson and instead wants to be referred to as Chad Ocho Cinco.
The NFL had the audacity to originally say no to this reasonable request and fined Johnson for wearing a temporary name bar that read Ocho Cinco prior to a game. Where are the heads at of the NFL brass? Don’t you want to have a spokesman for your Spanish speaking fans? Don’t you want to grow the game south of the border? In any event, Johnson retaliated the only way a normal person would – by legally changing his name to Ocho Cinco and thus forcing the hand of the NFL. They can’t really stop a player from changing his name, so they may have to honor the legal motion and refer to Chad as Ocho Cinco.
But the NFL won’t stand for this type of insolence! They have announced on the first Sunday of the season that they are fighting back! You can’t have a star player called Ocho Cinco for heavens sakes:
“While the NFL has recognized the legal name change of Chad Johnson to Chad Ocho Cinco, the league informed the Bengals today that certain issues remain to be resolved before Ocho Cinco will be permitted to wear his new surname on his jersey” the NFL released today in a statement.
Who will win – Ocho Cinco or the NFL? If this is allowed to occur, will other players demand to change their names too? Will it be a matter of time until Golden Palace offers some 3rd string defensive end a few million bucks to legally change his name to GoldenPalace.com? We think so and when the second player follows Ocho Cinco and is allowed to change his name all bets are off.
See, this is why the NFL has a TV deal and the NHL is currently shown on ESPN Sunday mornings from 3 to 4 AM in the US. The NFL has compelling story lines. Imagine the nerve of Chad Johnson to change his name? Imagine how silly NFL commentators must feel having to call a star in the league Ocho Cinco during a telecast? Where is this kind of verve in the NHL? Why doesn’t Brendan Shanahan wake up in the morning and decide he will no longer have a name, but instead will be referred to only by the scent of freshly baked bread? Why doesn’t Steve Staios decide he is going to file papers with the powers that be to change his name to Optimus Prime? Why? WHY?
Well, we will tell you why.
Because the NHL is full of hockey players. They don’t celebrate by making cell phone calls after they score goals. They don’t get arrested en masse in the off season. They don’t pull diva crap like changing their name to Ocho Cinco. Instead they take pucks to the face with reassuring regularity, work out like demons in the offseason and bring a “get-er-done” spirit to work in the morning. And we for one are waiting for the new season to arrive so we can get back to watching real athletes perform, not the likes of Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson.
Besides, making a fake name is so lame.