You know, you’d think that Chad Johnson would’ve asked a few questions to make sure everything was going to work out before he went and changed his freaking last name. But that would probably be asking to much, right?
It appears as if he will not get to wear his new last name, “Ocho Cinco” (actually, “D’oh-cho Cinco” would be more appropriate now) on his uniform at all this season because of a contractual situation with Reebok. It would cost him what is described as “a lot of money” to make the switch, as Reebok has an inventory of jerseys with his old name on them. Which or course now begs the question: what if he’s not with the Bengals next year, and what if he has to wear like 84 or something?
The CINCINNATI INQUIRER says that Reebok, and not the NFL, is holding up the transition:
The league respected the receiver’s name change, but said he couldn’t wear “Ocho Cinco” on the back of his jersey until he compensated Reebok for the old jerseys that would now be a tough sell.
Rookie linebacker Keith Rivers paid $10,000 to Reebok to have his number changed just before the regular season from 58 to 55. Some lucky kids in the Congo are currently being sent Rivers’ #58 jerseys, which they plan to send back because they’d be too embarrassed to wear Bengals gear.
Johnson won’t reveal how much it will cost him exactly to switch, but even if it’s like, say, $250,000, wouldn’t he just go ahead and pay up? He makes enough money, and he went through all the trouble of getting his name actually changed. The league and Reebok say that next year he can put his new name on his jersey without financial penalty, but what if he gets traded and has to go back to Florida to change his name to “Ocho Cuatro?”
The team apparently didn’t know about having to pay to put your new legal name on your jersey and official statistics either:
The Bengals changed his name above his locker and on official statistics and notes before the season opener at Baltimore. The league was going to comply, but said the receiver had to first take care of the inventory of jerseys.
For what it’s worth, Johnson has oddly decided to blame the electoral process for the situation:
“Stupid politics,” the receiver said.