For some reason, people care that Chad Johnson recently changed his name to Chad Javon Ocho Cinco. Fans cite this as more proof that Mr. Ocho Cinco is an egotistical jerk only interested in self-promotion. Maybe, but I’m not sure adding the Spanish words for “eight” and “five” to your driver’s license suddenly means you haven’t always been a narcissist.
Presumably, Johnson made Ocho Cinco his legal name because it’s decidedly lucrative; he’ll get a percentage of each new “Ocho Cinco” jersey sold. Whatever, the NFL has decided to play along and will allow the wide receiver formerly known as Johnson to go forth and wreak havoc.
“Effective today, the Bengals begin the process of listing the former Chad Johnson as Chad Ocho Cinco for all club business, per the legal change of his surname effected in Florida. The list of appropriate changes will include the player wearing the name Ocho Cinco on the back of his jersey for Sunday’s season opener at Baltimore.”
SI. COM’s Ross Tucker, a former NFL player, thinks the NFL is heading down a slippery slope. He also thinks Chad is insane:
Chad is either a marketing genius who finds a way to keep his name in the spotlight or a troubled soul with psychological issues. Either way, the NFL is walking a very thin tight rope on this one. A man has a right to change his name and have his new name be recognized. But what if it wasn’t just “Ocho Cinco”? What if Chad or any other player decided to pocket some additional endorsement income from his own name?
I can easily envision Chad or another like him changing their name to better suit one of their off-field ventures. Chad GODADDY.COM and Chad Right Guard certainly come to mind. I wouldn’t put it past him. In the interest of commerce, and at its core that is exactly what it is, Chad could change his name on a yearly basis. Players get a fraction of the revenue from every jersey that is sold which bears their name and number. If the Bengals and the NFL officially switch his jersey to Ocho Cinco, that will become a hot item.
It may be just “Chad being Chad,” but he is the one laughing all the way to the bank.
I full expect to see an NFL’er with the surname of SPORTSBYBROOKS.COM before the 2009 season.