Thursday, 11 November 2010

Ochocinco, Classy in Cincinnati

by Baiden McCallum, North Toronto Collegiate Institute (02WIL)

Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, Lebron James. These are some of the people Chad Ochocinco keeps company with – at least on the list of America’s most hated athletes.

The Q Scores Co., which conducts popularity polls, has Chad Ochocinco, star wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL, ranked as the fourth most disliked figure in all of sports today, behind the likes of Michael Vick, Tiger Woods and Terrell Owens, and in front of Kobe Bryant and Lebron James.

Most of the six names on the list deserve to be there, but does the fourth really belong?

It’s understandable that Michael Vick, a felon who was imprisoned for funding a dog-fighting operation, is there. Also deserving their spots are Tiger Woods, the face of his sport and one of the many faces of sporting-goods company Nike, who cheated on his wife with what seemed to be two floozies for every day of the week; Kobe Bryant, a notoriously arrogant person in his youth, who feuded with Shaquille O’Neal publically and also supposedly raped a woman about a decade ago; Lebron James, the reigning NBA MVP, who paraded his arrogance with his nationally televised heart-stomping of Cleveland, infamously dubbed “The Decision”.

The only other person in the top six who doesn’t seem to belong is Terrell Owens. Granted, Owens is a diva and a seemingly clinical narcissist who had constant fights and feuds within his organizations, prompting him to be shipped from team to team. This behaviour is scarcely worthy of being one of the top five hated athletes, but it’s understandable why he would be disliked by many. Ochocinco on the other hand has been with the Cincinnati Bengals his entire career and, while somewhat of a diva himself, still is an upstanding guy to everyone, everywhere he goes.

The demographic that was polled was not released, but I assume it was just random people, or casual sports fans, the fans that will tune into ESPN and see that Ochocinco has received yet another fine for an over-the-top touchdown celebration. What they don’t read on ESPN is that Ochocinco pays the fine and then regularly donates a matching amount to charities such as and

Not only does he donate thousands upon thousands to charities each year, he is also probably the best athlete out there at interacting with fans. An avid user of Twitter, Ochocinco regularly tweets messages such as “Going to the movies, first 100 fans at X theatre get free tickets to Transformers”. Also a self-proclaimed McDonald’s addict, he will buy random people burgers and fries when he goes to get his fix. He even tweets his Xbox Live gamer tag and plays Madden NFL with anybody willing to challenge him.

Just this year Ochocinco made good on his promise to treat a New England Patriots season-ticket holder and his wife out to dinner while in town for the Patriots-Bengals season opener. Another time, not knowing anybody there, Ochocinco, on impulse, bought dinner for 64 people in an Indianapolis steakhouse.

It’s understandable that some people don’t like his attention-seeking attitude, but are his reality shows – he has appeared on Dancing with the Stars amongst others – so bad that he is hated more than Ben Roethlisberger (multiple rape accusations), Barry Bonds (indicted for perjury) or Ray Lewis (murder), who were all left off the list? Maybe it’s because his last name, which reflects the numerals on his jersey in Spanish, is incorrect. It should be ochenta y cinco.

“Estaban 85 is my gamer tag! estaban 85, retweet to the world so I can takeover madden like pinky and the brain” – OGOchoCinco via Twitter

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