Chad Johnson's public persona as a fun-loving, free-spirited entertainer who happened to play football will certainly take a hit as the story of his domestic violence arrest unfolds. But Johnson has prided himself on not getting arrested, and specifically on not committing acts of domestic violence, as this passage from Ocho Cinco: What Football And Life Have Thrown My Way, his 2007 autobiography with Yahoo! Sports' Jason Cole, explains.
You see, the funniest part is that people think I’m so bad, but do you see one arrest on me since I got to the NFL? Do you see me getting suspended for using drugs or steroids? Do you see anything about me beating up my girlfriend or some other guys? No, none of that. Still, people think I’m this bad guy because I do some celebrations and talk trash and I’m flamboyant. Look, I’m working hard, I’m having fun, and nobody is going to stop me from having fun.
The passage in question comes after Johnson discusses an incident at the 2008 Pro Bowl in which a reporter said he shoved an NFL employee. A free preview of Ocho Cinco is available via Google Play.
Johnson also told ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. in a 2001 interview prior to being selected in the 2001 NFL Draft that he wanted to be known for a clean slate after his career.
Kiper: When all is said and done, how do you want people to remember Chad Johnson?Johnson: As a very humble, nice person who had no off-the-field problems.
Johnson's been known to most national media members as a good guy for most of his career. The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero wrote this week of the contrast between Johnson and outgoing Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall, constantly in domestic turmoil.
If Johnson gets the benefit of the doubt in this case, it would be for reasons ESPN's Michael Smith neatly outlined late Saturday night.
I know you never really know somebody and not saying I knew him all that well but this doesn't seem like Chad. Hoping it isn't as it seems.— Michael Smith (@michaelsmith) August 12, 2012