I was born and raised in Miami and was a Dolphins season ticket holder. I’ve rooted for them since sitting in my Grandpa’s house in the early 1980s and watching their classic overtime, playoff loss to the San Diego Chargers.
So I’ve been discussing a lot recently the events surrounding former Dolphins wide receiver Chad Johnson, formerly known as Chad Ochocinco. Chad was arrested after a domestic incident involving his wife. The Dolphins then ended his contract with the team. HBO’s Hard Knocks, a football documentary-style show following the Dolphins during this season’s training camp, aired video of the meeting when the head coach notified Chad he would no longer be a part of the team. The coach says his decision was not based alone on the incident with his wife. The coach considered other factors.
This episode raises questions about more than football. Public Relations: Are sports teams cracking down on what they perceive as unprofessional behavior? Media Relations: How transparent was the Dolphins coach about his decision when addressing the media? Employee Communications: How did the coach (boss) handle his one-on-one meeting with Chad Johnson (employee)? Social Media: What about the debate of those applauding the Dolphins versus those feeling the team should have waited for more facts abut the case to surface?
Via Twitter, I asked a Dolphins reporter, columnist and blogger for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel about the Dolphins releasing Chad Johnson after being arrested. My question: “Do u think some veteran players are too willing to forgive in order to win?”
His response: ”Locker room is a brotherhood. Chad was family.”
I asked fans around the league how they think the Dolphins handled the Chad Johnson situation. All these fans are in the communications industry or current or former members of the media.
Patriots fan: ”I’m fine with this. In no other workplace would this even be a question.”
Jets fan: ”Maybe a bit quick to release him. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? However, I’m glad that teams are getting fed up with these millionaire athletes acting like children. They need to learn that their actions have consequences.”
Bills fan: ”They never should of brought him in in the first place.”
Bears fan: ”If he had caught 85 passes last year instead of 15, would he have been cut?”
Bears fan: “The guy has never been arrested before right? No history of this? If he is exonerated, did the Dolphins jump the gun?”
Bears fan: “Obviously I don’t know the details, but if it is true, totally appropriate. If you send Vick away for violence against dogs, should have less tolerance for violence against women.”
Cardinals fan: ”I think it would be a whole different ballgame, pardon the pun, if we were talking about 1st string Johnson 5 years ago, not OchoCinco of today.”
Lions fan: ”I think he’s used up any goodwill he had … if he had any. Good move.”
Tags: Communications, communications consultant, communications industry, employee communication, employee communications, hbo, media, Media Relations, miami dolphins, PR, Public Relations, reporter, Social Media, South Florida, sun sentinel, Twitter