*As previously reported by EURweb, Former NFL wideout Chad Johnson was sentenced to 30 days behind bars for giving his attorney a “thank you” pat on the rear end in court Monday, sources say. The ill-advised, ill-timed gesture is one of many used by athletes to express emotion during competition.
The abrupt ruling came just moments after Johnson had reached a deal with prosecutors for community service and counseling to resolve a probation violation from his no-contest plea last year to battery on his then-wife, reality star Evelyn Lozada.
The audience seemed amused by Johnson’s antics, even laughing out loud until urged to quiet down by Broward County Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh.
The judge then angrily said she wouldn’t sign off and tossed the six-time Pro Bowler formerly known as Chad Ochocinco in jail.
“This isn’t a joke,” the judge snapped, raising questions about his sincerity.
In response to her Monday ruling, Johnson’s attorney, Adam Swickle has asked McHugh to reconsider the sentence.
Swickle said the backside pat was merely Johnson’s way of showing appreciation for his attorney’s work on the case. It also meant he wouldn’t do any jail time despite skipping out on meetings with his probation officer for three months.
“Mr. Johnson has been a professional football player in the National Football League for 11 years and patting another individual on the backside is viewed as a sign of respect and gratitude,” he said in the motion. “It is clear that the court misinterpreted Mr. Johnson’s interaction with his attorney.”
As for the courtroom laughter, Swickle added, “this is not Mr. Johnson’s fault and he should not be punished for the actions of third parties.”
Prosecutors have decided to leave Johnson’s sentence up to McHugh, who presides over Broward County domestic violence cases. A hearing has been set for next Monday. Johnson, 35, spent most of his NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals , catching 766 passes for more than 11,000 yards and 67 touchdowns. He played one year with the New England Patriots and then was in training camp last year with the Miami Dolphins, who cut him after he head-butted Lozada during a domestic altercation. Lozada, a star on VH-1’s “Basketball Wives” show, quickly filed for divorce.
In court, Johnson expressed his desire to revive his floundering football career. Under the plea deal that had been reached, Johnson would perform 25 hours of community service and attend counseling sessions twice a week during his probation.
In addition, the probation would be extended three months into December.