Keeping Score

Don’t Go, Ochocinco! Football Star to Change Name Back

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Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco gestures to a teammate from the sidelines during the second half of the Bengals' NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Maryland October 11, 2009.


So what, exactly, is going to happen with the Ocho Cinco News Network?

Of course, the Ocho Cinco News Network, OCNN, isn’t an actual television station, but more a grandiose tag for the insanity of Chad Ochocinco, née Chad Johnson, the outspoken wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. In 2008, Johnson legally changed his name to Ochocinco, as a ridiculous Spanglish homage to his uniform number, 85. Now, Ochocinco says he’s reverting back to Johnson. “I’ve done enough with the Ocho thing,” he told ESPN.

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Bummer. At the time he became Ochocinco, many observers – this one included – rolled their eyes, thinking Johnson’s antics were nothing more than a desperate cry for attention.  They probably were. But many of those same skeptics – again, including this one – sort of dug the Ochocinco persona. During the 2009 edition of the HBO show Hard Knocks, which goes behind the scenes of an NFL training camp, Ochocinco’s pet putdown phrase, “Child Please!”, was a hit. His twitter handle, @ochocinco, attracted 1.6 million followers. He bantered back and forth with opposing players. Ochocinco was harmless fun in a self-serious sport that could use a little levity.

Ochocinco has a tendency to talk a big, then not deliver. Just ask Bengals fans about his on-field performance. So all this Johnson talk might be posturing. Let’s hope so. The Johnson News Network just doesn’t have the same ring.

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