(Photo by Rob Loud/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
My response to Mark Kriegel's column, On the Mark: "Please, Not More Ocho," posted on the FOX Sports website recently, criticizing Chad Ochocinco.
Tuesday August 4th, 2009
First of all, it's never good for a columnist, in my opinion, to let one's personal feelings get in the way of reporting. This has not been the case with Mark Kriegel's latest column for FOX Sports inaptly titled, On the Mark: "Please, Not More Ocho."
Kriegel takes painstaking steps to launch a personal and professional attack on Johnson, calling him a "loser" and a "clown."
To top things off, Kriegel lobbies for us to hate on Chad even more because Ochocinco calls out Kriegel on twitter, calling him an "idiot."
Didn't Kriegel ever learn the famous children's rhyme, "sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me?"
Moving forward to Wikipedia, Chad Ochocinco has made five Pro Bowls and has been selected All Pro three times. That's one heck of career for a guy playing on an average team all these years.
Not only that, Chad does/has done alot of community service work. It's my understanding that he regularly visits Africa to help people there.
He knows how to give back.
Granted, some of Kriegel's observations about Chad regarding narcissism and self-absorption have validity. However, in the world of popular culture and sports, this kind of behavior has been witnessed, tolerated, and even encouraged many times before.
Kriegel's confirms this with a willingness to peddle low level trash-talk for FOX Sports and/or the NFL
Let's not forget that Kriegel and FOX are in direct competition with twitter and ustream, the two sites Johnson had been criticized for using. After all, these internet media tools represent a potential threat to FOX's market share and to the status quo for which FOX has helped to create and sustain.
Clearly, the motivation here centers on revving up the FOX Sports NFL hype machine before the season starts.
Wednesday morning, Aug. 5, 2009
The Ocho-Kriegel incident has held my attention as a compelling case study in twenty-first century sports marketing.
I just watched a Kriegel video which further fans the flames of his alleged viral Cinco bashing column, On the Mark: "Please, Not More Ocho."
I thought "viral" meant that you had to be picked up on more than one news source other than your own. A Google news search reveals exactly one hit—FOX. I guess FOX has a different idea regarding "viral" than the rest of the world.
Back to the story.
The Ocho-Kreigel incident stirs up emotions regarding old vs. new, historical sentimentality vs. post-modern hype.
To Kriegel's credit, he has written a few critically acclaimed sports books that hail the history of the game.
Good for him.
It leads me to believe that he's all about tradition, hard work, and the American way.
All good things.
The problem arises when the traditionalist, Kriegel, lashes out at Johnson in a personal way as a result of objecting to Johnson's style and/or conduct. This kind of action hints at being moralistic, hi-minded, and making judgements based on personal preference.
Translation: "If your'e not like me, you're no good."
In short, Kriegel feels threatened.
We all know Chad will be Chad, but will Kriegel be Kriegel?
Another point regarding Kriegel's video: The columnist lashes out at Chad for calling him an "idiot" on twitter. We expect this kind of reaction from Chad, because Chad will be Chad.
However, Kriegel, the self-anointed "adult" in this situation, conveniently forgets that he was the one who started this whole thing by calling Ocho a "loser" and a "clown" and not to Ochocinco's face, but in the media.
Finally, Kriegel highlights examples of sports greatness to support his position against Johnson by referring to Tom Brady
, Tiger, Ali, Jeter, and Jordan. Last I heard, Tiger and Ali played individual sports that do not require a team to achieve legendary status.
On the other hand, "team sport" living legends—Brady, Jeter, Jordan and how about free spirit Dennis Rodman, were all a part of organizations which helped to insure their greatness.
Here's the funny part. Kriegel conveniently denies Rodman, a winner of championships with two teams, his rightful legendary place in sports history.
Why does Kriegel act this way? Because Rodman does not fit into Kriegel's idea of greatness.
Yet again, it's personal.