It’s official. Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson is now Chad Ocho Cinco. What in God’s name does this have to do with the left?
In the NFL, wide receivers seem to need attention like green plants need sunshine. From New England Patriots wideout Randy Moss (who, to be fair, has settled down since his worst attention-seeking days when he played for the Minnesota Vikings) to Dallas Cowboys pass catcher Terrell Owens, Chad is just carrying on an NFL tradition of getting the TV cameras pointed at him.
Chad is actually a talented football player. He’s not a chump; he really does have game. But he hates playing in Cincinnati. He feels – correctly, as it turns out – that the Bengals organization isn’t committed to trying to field a championship-caliber team. Chad may want attention – and he does – but he also wants to win a Super Bowl. That won’t happen in Cincinnati, and Chad knows it.
Why won’t it happen? Because the Bengals are owned by Mike Brown, who is easily one of the worst owners in professional sports. (I’m an anti-capitalist, pro-pareconist. But I promise not to mention that even one time during the course of this essay.) Brown, the son of the legendary NFL coach Paul Brown, sees his team strictly as a business. He just wants his money.
See, if pro teams in any sport are going to be competitive for championships, then those teams’ owners need to spend money. It is possible for an owner to spend money on enough talent to compete for championships and still make money. But a team that wins cuts into an owner’s profit margin.
There are some owners – like Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft – who do want winning teams and do pay for them. But Mike Brown only starting paying for talent a few years ago (after owning the team for decades) when, thanks to increasing fan outrage over a team nicknamed by ESPN the “Bungles,” the political situation in Cincinnati had deteriorated to the point that Hamilton County officials (which built Brown a shiny new football stadium and handed him the deed a few years earlier) had to lean on Brown to stop his habit of having his team have the lowest payroll in the NFL every year. It got so bad that, at one point, then-NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue even had a sit-down with Brown about it.
So Brown shelled out a few bucks and upgraded the offense. Quarterback Carson Palmer is a legitimate stud, running back Chris Perry might be pretty good, and number-two wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh is pretty good. But despite head coach Marvin Lewis’s defensive background, the defense sucks, and it’ll suck again this year. (Steeler fans can look forward to Pittsburgh winning the AFC North again.)
So against this backdrop, Chad decided last season was enough. He wanted out, and he made that known during the off-season. Now, if you’ve ever seen the movie The Godfather, you know two things: (1) The Godfather, while a very good movie, is a little overrated. (2) Never let personal matters influence business decisions.
All successful businesspeople understand the difference between what’s business and what’s personal. (If only Sonny Corleone had kept that in mind before heading over the causeway…) But while Paul Brown was a genius, his son Mike doesn’t have that problem. Mike Brown is an idiot, and he lets personal matters affect his business judgment. Considering his judgment isn’t that good to begin with, Brown needs all the brain cells working in his favor that he can get.
The Washington Redskins actually wanted to trade for Chad during the off-season. It was rumored that Washington offered Cincinnati a first-round pick and a third-round pick for Chad. If that’s true, it would have been a helluva deal for both teams. But Mike Brown refused to even speak with the Redskins about the trade. He wanted to show Chad who was boss.
Now look, I’m not saying you necessarily have to pull the trigger on that deal if you’re Brown. But if Washington really was offering a first and a third, you at least have to talk to the Redskins about it. That’s what Michael Corleone would have done. (Talk hell – Michael would pulled the trigger on that deal – figurately and literally, putting a bullet through Dan Snyder’s glasses-covered eye after the fact. But I digress…) Mike Brown let it get personal, because he’s a moron. He’s a rich moron. But a moron nonetheless.
Now Chad has gotten revenge. Chad’s self-annointed nickname is “Ocho Cinco.” His jersey number is 85, and since he knows just enough Spanish to be dangerous (since ocho cinco is actually “eight five” in Spanish, not eighty five), he wanted to put ocho cinco on the back of his jersey, in place of his birth name, Johnson. The Bengals said no. The NFL said, under league policy, only last names could go on the backs of jerseys.
Now, there are a lot of things one can fairly say about Chad – but stupid isn’t one of them. He may not be Albert Einstein, but he’s smarter than Mike Brown (okay, okay – that’s not saying much). Look, Chad really is a bright guy. And he’s actually not a bad guy. Unlike Randy Moss (who literally hit a cop with his car when he played in Minnesota) and Terrell Owens (who has made a career out of questioning the sexual orientation of his quarterbacks), Chad has never broken the law. He’s not a drug user, and he’s friendly with the fans. I actually like Chad (I wish I could say the same for the Bengals, but fuck them – I’m a Steeler fan).
Chad legally changed his name from “Chad Johnson” to “Chad Ocho Cinco.” (Haven’t you noticed I’ve been going through this entire piece calling him by his first name?) So now he can put ocho cinco on the back of his jersey.
How will this affect the Bengals? Quite simply, get ready for the return of the Bungles. Chad’s action will destroy what little chemistry the team still had. Chad has killed the team’s chances of winning squat this year. And I, for one, love it. Why? Because Mike Brown is a fuckhead, and he deserves what he’s about to get.
So what in the blue hell does all this have to do with the left? Well, you know that old expression “What goes around…”? How about “You reap what you sow?” Just like Mike Brown is about to get what’s coming to him, so too are the Democrats.
The Democrats and Barack Obama spent the last year shitting and pissing all over their rank-and-file supporters. The details need not be reviewed here. We shouldn’t even be talking about the Republicans right now, except to ask whether it’s going to be a burial or a cremation. But the mealy-mouthed, spineless, corporate-grubbing, and base-screwing-over Democrats are now getting their asses handed to them by one formerly-little-known-Governor-turned-rock-star Sarah Palin. The Democrats deserve it. And I’ve got to tell you, I’m laughing my ass off watching it.
I watched a little of McCain and Palin on the stump this evening – or should I say, I watched John McCain gravy-training on the next Vice President. McCain is so obviously just a spectator during his own damn presidential campaign. He should be on his knees every night thanking Palin’s parents for conceiving her. McCain should change his name to American Tourister, because Palin is carrying him like a cheap piece of luggage.
And there’s not a damn thing the Democrats can do about it.
Obama left the Republicans the opening when he fucked his base over. Radical lefties tried to tell Obama, but he wouldn’t listen. Now he’s getting exactly what his arrogance deserves: a one-way ticket to the same mausoleum where the political corpses of Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry are interred.
So long, Barry. It was nice knowing ya. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out…
ERIC PATTON lives in Cincinnati, Ohio. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.