Chad Johnson was one of the most controversial NFL players of his era, between getting in trouble with the law, suspended by the league, and even changing his name to Chad Ochocinco. Even though he last played in the league in 2011 and he’s no longer in the spotlight like he once was, Johnson has still been getting in trouble with the law in his post-NFL life.
When it’s not actual crimes that are getting him in trouble with the law, his childish behavior has landed him in jail at least once.
Chad Johnson’s NFL career
Johnson played 11 seasons in the league from 2001-2011, with the first 10 years on the Bengals before going to the Patriots for his final season. The wide receiver caught 766 passes for 11,059 yards and 67 touchdowns in his career.
He set career highs with 97 receptions and 1,432 yards in 2005, two years after he scored a career-best 10 touchdowns. Perhaps the highlight of his career came in the Bengals’ lone playoff game in the 2005 season.
The team lost, but Johnson caught four of his six targets for 59 yards, and he reached the end zone on three of his four catches. He was a six-time Pro Bowler in Cincinnati.
Domestic abuse charges
In 2012, Chad Johnson was married to reality TV star Evelyn Lozada. The celebrity couple had even filmed their own reality show, Ev and Ocho, for VH1. According to The Hotline, the show never aired after a domestic abuse incident in which Johnson was charged with headbutting Lozada, who subsequently filed a divorce from the former NFL player, during an argument.
The allegations led to the Dolphins releasing Johnson from his contract with the team — a firing that aired on HBO’s popular Hard Knocks. He also lost endorsement deals over the alleged domestic violence case. Johnson issued a statement in which he expressed an intent to “apologize to everyone for the recent events that have occurred.”
He went on to “wish Evelyn well” and promised to “never say anything bad about her because I truly love her to death.” He vowed to remain positive “and train hard for another opportunity in the NFL,” which never materialized. Johnson and his attorneys eventually reached a plea deal with the court, but that didn’t go as planned.
Chad Johnson’s childish behavior costs him
ESPN recaps what happened in a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., court in June 2013 when Johnson tried to enter his no-jail plea deal. He had reached a deal with prosecutors that called for community service and counseling in lieu of jail time.
The deal was set, until Judge Kathleen McHugh asked Johnson if he was satisfied with lawyer Adam Swickle. That was when Johnson lightly swatted the attorney on his rear end — as is typically seen on a football field — which caused laughter in the courtroom. But McHugh didn’t see the humor in it.
The incident, which was intended to be lighthearted, caused McHugh to reject Johnson’s plea deal and sentence him to 30 days in jail for a probation violation in the case. In making her ruling, McHugh said she didn’t know that Johnson was “taking this whole thing seriously. I just saw you slap your attorney on the backside.”
She then asked the former receiver if he found something funny about the situation. She then noted that “the whole courtroom was laughing” and made clear that she was “not going to accept these plea negotiations. This isn’t a joke.”
Johnson tried to apologize and insisted that there was no disrespect intended by the playfulness, but to no avail. Instead of avoiding jail time as he would have if the plea deal were accepted, he was sentenced to a month in jail because of his childishness.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference