Why Media Bias Against Chad Ochocinco Makes Us All Look Bad
There is a saying that "no news is good news." Well, sports media has taken this to an entirely new level as of late.
We tend to focus on arrests, DUI's, domestic abuse and other unflattering situations as they relate to players in the sports world. Barely do we hear about the good that some of these players do in their community and the world by in large.
We don't hear about what Drew Brees has done to help rebuild the city of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. We don't hear about Braylon Edwards donating $10,000 each to dozens of children for college, an amount that equaled his entire 2011 salary.
Good news doesn't sell, and I fully understand that.
With that said, the Chad Ochocinco situation over the course of the last decade has really given media in the sports world a bad name. There is something to say about journalistic integrity, or at least I thought there was.
Back in 2011, FOX Sports ran an article that focused on the "Top Ten Divas in the NFL." They proclaimed Ochocinco the seventh biggest diva in the NFL by ignorantly assuming that he is an egocentric individual.
Your first clue: The guy legally changed his name to "Ochocinco" to match his uniform No. 85 (we'll ignore his incorrect Spanish).
They continued on this premature rant by concluding the following was "diva" worthy after the enigmatic receiver was traded to the New England Patriots.
Johnson promptly proclaimed his desire to move in with a Patriots fan for the beginning of the season. Looks like Ocho is back in the diva game.
Wait? What? That is a bad thing? This might be overkill, but it does show that he is more in tune with his fans than the vast majority of players in the sports world. What is wrong with proclaiming that you want to stay with a fan until you find a place of residence?
We see Craig's List ads all the time indicating that someone wants to rent a room on a short-term basis. So, acting like a normal person is being a "diva" now? Makes absolutely no sense to me.
Jeff Hale over at MSN Sports indicated that Ochocinco was the biggest diva in sports:
"Ochocinco, who played for the Cincinnati Bengals since entering the NFL in 2001, has publicly undercut coaches, teammates and opposition players with his comments. In 2005, he said he would compile a list of players who did the best job covering him in a game.
That is the best Hale could come up with? This isn't any different than a player like Jerry Rice saying that Deion Sanders was the best cover corner in the NFL and he had a hard time going up against No. 21.
It's this cynical view of professional athletes that gets on my nerves. I fully understand that some of them put it on themselves by acting the part of a fool.
The media had the right get on Ben Roethlisberger for off-field activity a few seasons ago, as we did with other players who deserved the negative microscope placed upon them.
Why don't we cover the good news?
Lost in all the character assassination of Chad Ochocinco is the fact that the talented receiver is a really good guy. He is deeply involved in various community organizations throughout the United States.
Most athletes do give back to their community and such endeavors fall through the proverbial crack. This is only magnified when it comes to individuals that we love to hate.
Bogged down behind headlines of Ochocinco's antics is a multitude of different stories about how No. 85 has worked in communities spanning each coast of the United States in order to make the lives of people that don't have it as good as him better.
This video from the NFL shows how Ochocinco made a homeless child's life a little bit better through the idea of altruism alone. Ruben St. Hilaire, a nine year-old by from New York City, was struggling in a shelter with his mother. He decided to send the receiver a letter asking for an autograph; Ochocinco promptly sent him a signed jersey.
What followed was unsuspecting to everyone involved. The boy's dream was to go to football camp, Ochocinco made it happen. One small gesture and a life changed forever.
The only major news outlet to pick this story up outside of the NFL itself was Yahoo. Here is a link to that story.
Ochocinco also teams up with Feed the Children, an organization that is extremely close to his heart. Yet, the only mainstream information to come out of this charitable giving is the fact that there was an innocent mix-up that confused the phone number with the organization with a sex chat hot line.
Of course, this was all Chad's fault, right? Despite the fact that Ochocinco has donated countless hours in Little Haiti and other poverty-stricken areas throughout the country in support of this cause the likes of ESPN, Fox Sports and the New York Times, among others decided to pick up the sex "controversy."
Has the media been unfair to Ochocinco
At a time when celebrities throw money at a problem, hoping that their financial finances will act as glue to fix an issue, time is becoming more valuable to the charities and people that need help the most. This is something that Chad understands fully.
He will not hesitate to spend hours upon hours with children, ride a bull for charity, embark on a charity bus ride, travel across the United States to meet the needy, and of course, give that all-important money.
Then you have his most recent antic that proves Ochocinco really doesn't think of himself as much more than an average person, who has an amazing job.
Riding through the streets of Miami earlier this week, he received a Tweet from one of his many followers indicating that the star receiver should come by the random guy's house.
Surprisingly enough, that is what he did, just to hang out with a fan and make his day. I dare you to find enough athletes to fill all the fingers on your one hand who would do the same thing.
He is a regular guy that likes to have fun on the football field. What is wrong with that? I don't think there is anything wrong with an individual, playing a kids game, acting that part.
He hasn't been a cancer in the locker room like other players around the league, he doesn't have a criminal record the size of a novel and he doesn't seem to think he is more important than you or I.
I think it has become time for us in the media world to look in the mirror. Stop living vicariously through the failures and successes of professional athletes. They are humans just like you and I. They are not perfect and they make mistakes.
Why has our business become so cynical of professional athletes? Not the ones who have put themselves in the situation to be criticized but the ones like Chad, who has done little to put himself in the situation to be called a "diva."
In reality, he is far from it.
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