*We all know that Chad Ochocinco is about to be married to Evelyn Lozada, the woman who is probably more aggressive than the NFL player with whom she shares her bed.   It is also well-known that Chad was just cut from the New England Patriots, where he once earned a nice paycheck.  Given Evelyn’s history of dating and dumping wealthy athletes, some wonder what her next move is going to be.

Chad is an interesting dude.  He’s as flamboyant as they come, with a mouth full of metal, and an ego as big as a house.   He does a nice job of bojangling for predominantly white audiences, making himself more of a clown-like sideshow than an actual football player.  He is also strikingly similar to another great wide receiver we all know by the name of Terrell Owens:  both skilled, famous, and the catch of the season for any woman who’s been duped into thinking that sleeping with professional athletes is either psychologically or physically healthy.

Owens is five years older than Ochocinco, and it’s hard not to compare the two.  Terrell was also flying high five years ago, and back then, he was only beginning to see the pieces of his career crumbling around him.  But he was in great shape, putting up good numbers and making good money.  No one knew that in just five years, he’d be fighting with the Allen Wranglers over chump change to feed a bunch of kids and baby mamas that he can no longer afford.

Both Chad and Terrell have four kids, meaning that they are exceedingly fertile and like to “get it in” with any cute woman with working sex organs.  Neither of them is married to the mother of any of those kids, and both of them pay more in monthly child support than many people make in an entire year.   There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of kids, even out of wedlock (kids can be a blessing).  But it might not make a lot of sense to put yourself in such a vulnerable financial situation that will leave you crying in your beer for the next 20 years.

It’s hard to say this and perhaps I am stereotyping, but one can easily see that Chad Ochocinco might be the next Terrell Owens.  There is something about being the greatest athlete on a field of superstars that inflates a man’s ego to the point that he believes that he’s always going to be the greatest.  Then, there’s the season where the gladiator loses a step to the younger player, gets a serious injury or simply finds that teams don’t love him the way they once did.  That’s when the world ends up watching the same train wreck that they saw with the last fallen superstar – your misery becomes their entertainment.

With so many black male athletes throwing away educational opportunities in exchange for an athletic dream, the stories get sadder every year.  Even worse, there is a hip-hop inspired set of cultural norms that comes along with being an athlete, one that ties in sexual promiscuity, drug/alcohol consumption, violence and financial irresponsibility.  Some of us, as black men, are like sheep who guide one another off the edge of a cliff, and too few of us are willing to speak up against this madness.

Let’s be clear, many athletes don’t live like Terrell Owens or Chad Ochocinco.  My interview with NBA player Etan Thomas clearly made the point that many athletes are making sound decisions and living good lives.  Unfortunately, walking stereotypes like Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco gladly submit to becoming the Flava Flavs of professional sports, and there are too many young men emulating their behavior.  One can only hope that young athletes learn from these experiences and don’t make themselves into the running joke of the next generation.

I wish Chad lots of luck, and I have a strong feeling that he’s going to need it.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

boyce watkins

Dr. Boyce Watkins