SPORTS WATCH
Miami Dolphins Show Some Moral Compass With Ochocinco
by Gus Jarvis
Aug 16, 2012 | 1496 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print

I guess you could say it’s not the honeymoon, or start to the 2012-2013 football season, wide receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson was looking for.

After being arrested on an alleged domestic violence incident on Saturday night, the Miami Dolphins soon decided he’s not a good fit with the organization and terminated his contract just 24 hours after his arrest. While the move may seem hasty, I agree with the Dolphins for releasing him. Ochocinco is too much about Ochocinco and not enough about football.

Depending on what report you read (I’ll choose The New York Daily News), Johnson was arrested on simple battery, domestic violence charge after he allegedly grabbed his new wife, Evelyn Lozada, and head-butted her. The head butt was hard enough to cut her deep enough to need stitches. What was the argument supposedly over? Well, according to The Daily News, the couple got into a heated argument after Lozada discovered a receipt for condoms in his car.

Of course, this would piss any wife off, especially if your husband is a popular NFL player. Probably what’s worse, here, is that she found this Trojan receipt just over two months after the two had been married. Really Ochocinco? It only been two months since you’ve been married and you are already hitting the town with a pocket full of rubbers? Child, please!

If I were Lozada, who is no stranger to drama (she was once married to the Miami Heat’s Antoine Walker and was on the reality TV show Basketball Wives), I would have confronted Ochocinco too. But what she didn’t realize, as most of the world didn’t really realize as well, is that he’s got a violent side. Yes, he’s always the jokester being silly but he’s had a past of domestic violence.

Johnson was apparently arrested in 2000 at the age of 22 after he slapped his then girlfriend. He pleaded no contest and was found guilty of domestic battery. He was able to avoid jail by completing community service activities after that incident. Maybe Lozada did know about his past. Maybe she didn’t? Either way, she had to be really surprised that not only did he have a violent nature but he was willing to unleash it in the form of a head butt. (Not that any form of violence should be considered better than others, but a head butt? Really? That’s what boxers use to get cheap in the ring.)

Anyway, what is important is what happened after Ochocinco’s arrest. The Miami Dolphins wasted no time in terminating his contract. This is somewhat unusual, if you ask me, because domestic violence has, in certain ways, been tolerated in the NFL for years. Think of all the players that have been arrested for beating their girlfriends or wives and they have been given three or four chances to improve their violent behavior at home. Maybe some of them faced suspensions and fines but I can’t remember anyone who’s ever been cut from a team that quickly following an alleged incident.

How many strikes does Brandon Marshall have on his domestic abuse rap sheet?

It was somewhat refreshing to see the Dolphins waste no time in getting rid of Ochocinco...or Chad Johnson…or whatever his name is.

Of course, because Ochocinco has not yet been convicted of any crime, the Dolphins couldn’t come out and say this alleged incident is what caused them to terminate him, but we all know it is the driving reason to send him packing.

“With any type of these decisions, it was not an easy one,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said in a press conference on Monday. “It was not reactive nor was it based on one single incident…When he came in on June 11th, we sat down and we talked and I was very clear as to the expectations of the program. It just didn’t work out. It’s more about the fit; in my gut I didn’t think the fit was going to be beneficial to either party moving forward, whether in the short-term or the long-term.”

Miami’s action in cutting Ochocinco should be the blueprint for how every NFL team should handle a player with domestic violence issues. There will be no slack. No second chances. You are out. Your violent actions at home don’t “fit” with the team concept and that’s the way it always should have been.

Of course, cutting Ochocinco probably wasn’t that hard either. He’s coming off a lackluster year in New England and I suspect his production as a receiver hasn’t been up to par for several years now. I’d say he’s more a name than an offensive threat.

I can imagine if a team’s offensive captain, like a Drew Brees or a Tom Brady, was caught up in domestic violence, the decision to terminate him from the team would be much harder and probably somewhat impossible. Hell, some of Ochocinco’s fellow players are mad the team cut him so quickly – and he’s not even been good.

“I hate that we didn’t stand behind him,” Dolphins linebacker Karlos Dansby told ESPN.com. “I know the guys in the locker room would…I think if we were going to be with the guy, if he was going to be our guy, we have to stand behind him – even though the situation came about. He didn’t get that third strike.”

Frankly, Dansby should be sent packing as well. Team unity is one thing. Supporting a teammate who will head-butt his wife is another. Dansby should realize that Ochocinco brought nothing but bad publicity to the team and they don’t need him. I don’t know. Maybe Dansby has a role in Ochocinco’s next reality TV series?

So where does Ochocinco go now? This will be the most interesting part. What team will prove to have absolutely no moral compass and pick him up? What team will be so desperate that they will need Ochocinco so bad that they will pick up all his reality-TV baggage and his criminal baggage as well?

Unfortunately, I don’t see this as the end of the line for Ochocinco as an NFL player. Somebody will stoop low enough and pick him up.

It better not be the Denver Broncos.



gjarvis@watchnewspapers.com or @gusgusj

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet