When the Miami Dolphins signed Chad Johnson, they knew they were bringing in a character who would make headlines with his personality and antics.
But until now, those antics have been fairly harmless. That allegedly changed on Saturday, when he was arrested and charged with domestic violence after his wife, Evelyn Lozada, accused him of head-butting her.
Police say the 34-year-old Johnson, formerly known as Chad Ochocinco, was arrested Saturday. Davie police Capt. Dale Engle said the argument, which occurred in the front of the couple's home, started when Lozada confronted Johnson about a receipt she had found for a box of condoms.
If convicted, Johnson faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $1,000 fine, though he could also receive community service, probation or anger management classes.
In a strange twist, Johnson actually joked on the show with Stuart Weinstein, the Dolphins' chief security investigator, that he would get arrested on his day off. Perhaps he should have knocked on wood.
For the Dolphins, this is the worst possible outcome. While the real focus of this incident shouldn't be about how a football team is affected by domestic abuse but rather how disturbing domestic abuse is, we'll grant Johnson's innocence until—or if—he is found guilty.
Until then, we'll focus on this incident from a football perspective.
No matter how it shakes out, this is bad publicity for the Dolphins and could quickly lead to Johnson being cut. The last thing a new coach like Joe Philbin needs is a distraction of this magnitude, especially in a year when they are being documented on Hard Knocks and are trying to turn around a disappointing 2011.
Speculation about who will end up as the team's starting quarterback? Fair game. Discussions about whether Joe Philbin's offensive philosophy will work with Miami's limited offensive talent? To be expected.
But discussion about Johnson's legal woes? Not needed.
Of course, it goes deeper than just a distraction. A few days ago, the duo of quarterback David Garrard and Johnson looked set to highlight the Dolphins' questionable passing attack. But Garrard is expected to be out a month after deciding to have surgery on his knee, while Johnson's future remains uncertain.
Reggie Bush just became a lot more valuable for the Dolphins team.
Nothing good can come of this for the Dolphins, even if Johnson is found innocent of these charges. At the very least, this will be a distraction for a team that needs to bunker down and work hard on improving this year.
And at the worst, they will be forced to cut Johnson. Welcome to Miami, Coach Philbin.
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