When I was watching ESPN reporting on its NHL analyst, Matthew Barnaby,
having been arrested for domestic abuse, I couldn't help but chuckle
at the story that was being scrolled across the bottom of the screen:
"Chad Ochocinco rides a bull for 1.5 seconds in PBR event". At a time
when sports figures like Barnaby and Albert Haynesworth are getting
arrested, or being prima donna's like Jorge Posada, Ochocinco,
or whatever he calls himself now, is really a breath of fresh air.
This guy just loves to have fun. You may see him as another overpaid,
self-centered athlete who is addicted to attention. I see a man trying
to squeeze every ounce of fun and laughter from a life that God has
given him. He's a guy crossing off items from his "Bucket List"
right before our eyes and he's having a helluva lot of fun doing it.
On January 30th, Ochocinco tweeted three simple, but very powerful
words: I LOVE LIFE. As the Gatorade commercials once stated, "Life
is a sport, drink it up. That is what Ochocinco is doing and clearly, he
is loving every minute of it, even if he does play for the Cincinnati
Bengals. That would make a lot of people gulp down Hemlock.
Is he a self-promoter? Absolutely. But haven't most of us become
self-promoters in this rapidly changing world? Just look at the home
page of Facebook and see the number of people who post their beauty
shots and frames of themselves crossing the finish line in some endurance
event. It screams, "Hey, look at me! Aren't I great?" Go on Twitter
and you'll see entertainers pimping their next event or appearance.
I promote this blog on Facebook. As Bill Belichick would say,
"It is what it is." All of it has become accepted in today's social
media driven world.
And nobody is better at doing it with a more entertaining flair
than Ochocinco, who has played in the NFL with the Bengals for
ten years. There is a reason he has more than 2 million people
following him on Twitter. Just look at what Ochocinco, formerly
known as Chad Johnson, has done over the last five years. He's
been on "Dancing with the Stars," did a show with T.O, played
pro soccer in the MLS, had a reality gig on MTV, raced a horse,
and signed endorsement deals to promote pistachios, Reebox, and
Ochocinco is a funny guy and wildly entertaining. Who can forget
his "Riverboat" or Irish jig dances in the end zone? Remember how
he put the gold, Hall of Fame jacket over his shoulder pads after
scoring a touchdown? How bout the the time he made good on his
promise to jump into the "Dawg Pound" in Cleveland after scoring
a touchdown. The guy is great entertainment. How can you not laugh
at some of the things he's done during games?
Ochocinco has never been arrested for domestic violence, a DUI,
or gone to jail for shooting himself in the leg. Oh sure, he's written
many checks to Roger Goodell, like the time he was fined $25,000
for Tweeting at halftime that he was tired of getting hit so hard in
a pre-season game. That's funny stuff. That's Ochocinco.
For most of his career, number 85 has been a wonderfully talented
receiver on an awful bad football team. If he doesn't keep his mouth
shut, at least he works hard, and there's nobody on the Bengals who
will deny that.
Ochocinco figured out long ago, that he's an entertainer, not just a
football player. I don't think the Bengals or the NFL for that matter,
really mind his antics. After all, the more popular Ochocinco becomes,
the more #85 merchandise they sell, and the more money they
make. And they all love the Benjamin's.
Ochocinco realizes that an NFL career is short, and he's just laying
the groundwork for his next stop in the world of showbiz. He's sure
to get a gig as an analyst for ESPN or Fox when he hangs up the cleats.
He's perfect for it because the camera loves him as much as he loves
the camera. Ochocinco is bright, funny, and he knows the game of football.
Plus, if he's not afraid to take shots at players when he's still running
routes, do you think he's going to back off when he puts on the microphone?
After his 1.5 second bull ride, Ochocinco was asked if he thought
the NFL would be upset with him for risking serious injury. Ochocinco
flatly stated, "I've never played by the NFL's rules."
Don't we all want to play by our own rules? Don't we all want to do
the things that makes us happy and other people laugh? Coming from
an underprivileged upbringing, Ochocinco didn't have a lot of opportunities
growing up that a lot of people have. He beat the odds to make it to the
NFL, now he's enjoying all that comes with being a professional athlete
and entertainer. He's living life and making sure that he leaves this
world with no regrets. Can you blame him?