Loud player attracts criticism

Anybody watching Sunday’s Bengals-Cowboys game no doubt heard about Chad Johnson’s pouting over and over again in the second half. The announcers were getting on him, the graphics crew at Fox saw fit to count the number of pouts he had on one drive.

While there is no questioning the fact that Johnson is upset, and maybe acted a bit immaturely, I question the people who are so quick to criticize him. On talk radio shows, people were saying he was selfish and just in it for himself. People think he cares more about his contract than the team winning. Callers complaining he was upset he didn’t get the ball thrown his way more.

I have no doubt that Johnson wanted more catches, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he is selfish. The fact of the matter is Johnson is the Bengals’ best wide receiver, and one of the best in the league. He is a competitor who realizes the more receptions he has, the better the chance his team has to win the game.

Just because a player is upset and ripping at his chinstrap and throwing his helmet doesn’t mean he is out for himself. While a bit childish, Johnson’s actions may have been more out of frustration over the team not being in the best situation to win than not having the stats.

While nobody can get inside Johnson’s head, some people need to take a step back and realize that he’s not necessarily a bad guy.

There seems to be a major backlash recently against athletes that don’t cater to the media, or show off for television cameras than ever before.

Many of these athletes add spice to otherwise bland games. For every time Terrell Owens does a celebration, he is said to care only about getting his face on television. Marvin Harrison on the other hand, is praised for never saying a word and just playing football.

As a fan, I enjoy the player who actually shows some excitement and life during the game. I at least know where that player stands during the course of a game.

Every single move a player makes on the football field can be misinterpreted. With all eyes on the filed looking at a player, that move can be taken out of context by the fans, the media and anybody else watching the game.

Judging a rash, emotional player by a rash, emotional outburst isn’t really needed. There are different personalities in sports as there are in every other aspect of life.

People bashing Johnson aren’t on the field with him. They don’t know what he says to the other players. They should know by now what type of player he is though.

Johnson is going to be scrutinized all week. Everybody will be throwing all sorts of accusations about what is really important to him. People will point to Sunday’s behavior and call him selfish. Those people may need to remember back to him crying after dropping a pass against Indianapolis a few seasons ago, and his vowing to improve. Maybe then, people will realize he’s an intense competitor.