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Chris Richardson

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The enigma of Chad Ochocinco


The question was asked, is Roger Goodell's public duel with Chad Ochocinco bad for the NFL or just the artist formerly known as Chad Johnson? First off, I don't think this is a duel at all. More accurately, it should be called a "read and react relationship." Chad does something that Goodell doesn't want to see -- be it donning a sombrero and a poncho, or wearing pink uniform accessories -- and the Commissioner reacts, usually in the form of a fine.

Beyond that, there's really no relationship to speak of. Chad (I'm calling him that not because I know him, but because I get tired of typing his last name) doesn't blast his punishments, unless you call asking for President Obama's help complaining. No, he dutifully pays his fine and goes on to his next scheme. The same is true for Goodell. He doesn't publically admonish Chad, he simply enforces the fine.

It's as if their relationship is one of, "Do your thing, Chad, but understand if it is deemed 'over the line' or excessive (or violates the uniform rules in anyway), it'll cost you." And that seems to work for all parties involved. In fact, Chad has money put aside for just these occasions.

The other part of the query, is Chad "bad" for NFL, well, I think that's open to your own interpretation. Some see his shtick and immediately say "attention whore," while others look, laugh, and say things like, "he's harmless" or "let him have his fun." In fact, some would argue Goodell's reactions and punishments are part of the reason people call the NFL the No Fun League.

As an acknowledged Cincinnati fan, my take is simply this: As long as Chad doesn't throw his teammates under the bus with his "look at me" antics, I couldn't care less what he does after he puts the ball in the end zone. However, once he puts himself before the team -- see the 2008 offseason, for example, or the "Hall of Fame" jacket from Monday Night Football -- then yes, I have a severe problem with Chad.

During Chad's offseason of discontent, I was actually frustrated that the Bengals didn't get rid of him. It was obvious he wasn't committed to being in Cincinnati, which showed up on the field as well. For that, I strongly felt he should've been shown the way out of town.

Fast forward to this past summer and Chad is the paragon of being a good teammate. So much so, in fact, he referenced Brokeback Mountain in order to describe his relationship between him and Carson Palmer. This is the Chad I have no problem with. As long as he's acting like a good teammate, that is, putting his team before himself, I don't care about his choice of hats, last names, or whatever social media tool he's taking full advantage of.

And that's my preference; just like it's yours to not like anything he does, ever.

By Chris Richardson  |  December 12, 2009; 11:24 AM ET  | Category:  Cincinnati Bengals Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I think you conveniently forgot that the only reason Chad wanted to leave Cincy was because he got SCAPEGOATED for that awful year.

He kind of brought it on himself... his antics aren't funny when his losing... and he shut down the antics after it was clear the season wasn't going in the right direction. But alot of you Cincy fans and the media all of the sudden decided that his ANTICS were the reason the team regressed... not the fact that he and Carson Palmer were trying to, unsuccessfully, play through serious injuries.

Of course he wanted to leave; he felt un-appreciated when he was taking all the blame! Where was the TEAM then?!?

But now it's all love and chuckles from the fanbase because your winning again.

Posted by: AJohn1 | December 12, 2009 5:25 PM

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