Hat tip to Brooks for the video here.
Aside from the obvious irony of Keyshawn Johnson calling anyone a team killer and a selfish player, there is a more damaging assessment to be taken out of Meshawn’s interview with Ocho Cinco that aired both on NFL Countdown and on SportsCenter yesterday: Keyshawn, after years of getting pilloried by the sports media (sometimes rightfully so, especially when he was popping off in Tampa Bay and Jon Gruden would not have it), has now completely subsumed himself into that Media Borg, he has been assimilated.
“It sounds to me like people are tired of Chad Johnson doing what he does. People are saying you’re hurting the team.”
Who are these people, Keyshawn? Own your words. Is that your perception, or did you get that question from your producers and cloaked it the “some people say” rhetoric that absolves you from having to identify your own doubts and biases?
“The perception is that Chad is tearing the team apart. It doesn’t matter what I think.”
Yes, it does. Keyshawn is in that rare perch of opinion-maker as an NFL analyst; if he were interested in puncturing the stereotype and submit that Johnson’s entertainment ethos is not losing games for the Bengals (it’s Cincinnati’s horrific defense), he would actually provide something we have not heard much of in the wake of blaming individual players for the collapse of a team.
Chad Johnson comes out the winner in this, not only for his interviewer’s missing the irony in his line of questioning, but re-affirming that his value as an entertainer is only important in the context of winning football games. It is not about the outside perception, it is about what he does on the field to win on Sunday, and Ocho Cinco appears to be offended that anyone would think that he is less than deadly serious when he lines up.
“So, now that we’re 1-4, what I do is a disruption? It ain’t been a problem the past seven years, now we not startin’ the way we should, now Chad Johnson is a problem.”
“That’s the way it works.”
“You pointin’ at me.”
“You’ve been the guy. They don’t win football games, it points back to you. You have to answer those people.”
“I don’t have to answer to nobody. What you fail to realize is that I can’t worry about what they say out there, it don’t mean nothing. and to tell you the truth, I really don’t care, because when I touch the field, I’m gonna handle my business anyway, whether you like it or anyone else behind the booth with your suit on.”
A complete and full assimilation into the Borg of Bristol, with a complete elimination of the possibility that the reason the Bengals are on the bad side of mediocre has to more to do with their “defensive genius” of a coach being unable to create anything resembling a competent linebacking corps or secondary in the Queen City than the ultimately harmless antics of their star wide receiver.
Ocho Cinco knows it, though — knowing they’re going to come after you when you’re down is the first step in handling the flack that even comes from those who played the game, those who really ought to know better.