Chad Ochocinco is still Chad Ochocinco for at least one more day. He’ll officially change his name back to Chad Johnson tomorrow when he gets married to Evelyn Lozada on a Wednesday afternoon (a holiday Wednesday in the U.S. too). The time and date of the wedding will be his last very Ochocinco act.
Maybe it won’t be, though, because maybe the name is really just a name, and there’s nothing deeper that writers (*meekly raises hand*) can make out of it. Because if you’re able to look past his constant charisma and energy that always flirts with the line separating fun and annoying, Ocho is a genuinely good dude. I’ve never met him, but people like CBS’ Mike Freeman have interacted with him countless times, and Freeman had this to say while ranking the newest Dolphins receiver at No. 4 in his “good guys” list:
Sure, he’s a little foul-mouthed on Twitter, and yes, he was once a showboat, but he was, and is, harmless. He’s also, secretly, an incredibly solid person and goes out of his way to make people think he’s not.
That’s why the following story is pretty cool, and it’s a little slice of happy in an otherwise crappy day for NFL news in early July.
On his always active Twitter account, Ochocinco received a message from Cheryl Minton, a woman from Ohio who recently lost her husband.
Cheryl, meet everyone. Everyone meet Cheryl…
If you’re human and have had a relationship that’s even remotely serious, your heart aches a little reading that, and we’re not generally in the business of making your heart ache around here. No, we usually prefer far less serious matters like interactions between Chris Berman and the 1990 supercomputer.
Once he received the message, Ochocinco didn’t do what most athletes/celebrities/fame whores would do: ignore it. Nope, he did the exact opposite, and he invited her to the wedding.
As heartmelt-y as this story is, there’s a natural and unfortunate question that has to be asked in this age when the Internet both creates and ruins every aspect of our lives, and often destroys all that is good on Earth. Is Minton for real here with her story? Or is she just one of the Internet’s many fame suckers trying to hitch a free ride?
Minton inevitably faced those questions herself, and she responded by saying that she’s not an evil wannabe Interweb celebrity who would try to hitch a free ride through a fake death story. Josh Katzowitz did some digging too, and found little to indicate that she’s any sort of rampant level five celebrity clinger.
I did a little research, and here’s what I found. She tweeted to Ochocinco on June 25 and twice on July 1, telling him of her loss and wishing him well in his relationship. She also informed a few other celebrities that her husband had died.
So, what can we draw from that? Not much. Minton could be lying or faking or whatever, but she’s probably not (this assumes that there is such a person as Cheryl Minton). It’s probably just a grieving window who’s been given a beautiful gift from Ochocinco. And if that’s really the case, isn’t that how you’d expect yourself to act if you had the money and power of Chad Ochocinco?
Yes, yes it is.
Ocho may act like a big kid, and at times in the past he’s shown a sense of entitlement on the field. But off it he’s just a guy with a lot of money who’s enjoying himself. If he can use a bit of that money to help a stranger through a tough time and make a woman smile, then it’s money well spent.