Ochocinco, Classy in Cincinnati

By: Baiden McCallum

Michael Vick, Tiger Woods, and LeBron James are some of the people that keep Chad Ochocinco company on the list of America’s most hated athletes.

The Q Scores Co., which conducts popularity polls, ranks Chad Ochocinco, a wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL, as the fourth most disliked figure in 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 listed. Also deserving their spots are: Tiger Woods, who cheated on his wife with what seemed to be two floozies for every day of the week despite being the face of his sport and one of the many faces of sporting-goods company Nike; 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; and LeBron James, the reigning NBA MVP, who paraded his arrogance with his nationally televised heart-stomping of Cleveland, infamously dubbed “The Decision”.

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

Information on the demographic polled was not released, but I assume it was just random people or casual sports fans (the fans that would tune in to ESPN and see Ochocinco receive yet another fine for an over-the-top touchdown celebration). What they don’t read on ESPN is that Ochocinco pays the fines and regularly donates a congruent amount to charities such as hillview.org or feedthechildren.org.

Not only is Ochocinco a generous man who donates thousands upon thousands of dollars to charities each year, he is also an athlete extremely good 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 would buy random people burgers and fries when he goes to get his fix. Ochocinco even tweets his Xbox Live gamer tag and plays Madden NFL with anybody willing to challenge him.

Just this year Ochocinco followed through on his promise to treat a New England Patriots season-ticket holder and his wife to dinner while in town for the Patriots-Bengals season opener. Another example of his generosity was when Ochocinco bought dinner for 64 random people in an Indianapolis steakhouse.

It’s understandable that some people don’t like Ochocinco’s attention-seeking attitude. But is his participation in reality shows (for example Dancing with the Stars) so offending that he is hated more than Ben Roethlisberger (accused of multiple rape incidents), Barry Bonds (indicted for perjury) or Ray Lewis (murder) who were all left out of the list? Maybe this is because of Ochocinco’s last name reflecting the numerals on his jersey in Spanish. That’s 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