On Monday, former NFL receiver Chad Johnson was released from jail after serving seven days of a 30-day term.
On Tuesday, Johnson appeared on Good Morning America to discuss the incident, and his football future. Because appearing on a network morning show is always the best way to get the attention of a General Manager.
First, Johnson explained to Robin Roberts the butt-slap of lawyer Adam Swickle, a gesture that came after Judge Kathleen McHugh praised Swickle’s work on Johnson’s behalf.
“That’s the way I’ve always interacted throughout life, just in general,” Johnson said. “I know there’s a certain thing called courtroom etiquette, which I’ve never really been part of the court system. It was a light tap. It wasn’t in any way to disrespect the courtroom. And really I didn’t think anyone would see it, because it was actually my third time doing so.”
Johnson, who remains on probation through October, wisely praised the judge supervising the process for her decisions, including the one that put him behind bars.
“I supported her in her decision to give me the sentence that she did, basically after me not meeting the criteria and the guidelines that I was supposed to meet in a certain amount of time,” Johnson said. “With them not being done within that time, I felt that it was right of her to sentence me to 30 days. She had given me a gift before and there was no reason to treat me any different than anyone else. Because if anyone else was in that situation, they would have had to do 30 days as well. . . .
“Judge McHugh was able to do something many people have tried to get me to do for a long time. Slow down. Just at life in general. Slow down, think about what you’re gonna do. She was able to do that, maybe not in the best circumstances to those on the outside but I see being able to sit down and think about life and where I’m going from this point on being one of the best things that could happen to me right now.”
An even better thing that could happen, in Johnson’s view, would be to get back to the NFL.
“I think everyone deserves a second chance,” Johnson said. “Many would say I might not deserve it. I would like to finish my career off the right way. I don’t want the last thing to be remembered, you know, well Chad was cut from the Dolphins for an incident he had with his wife. I would love to grace the football field one more time and to help some team. I’m not injured, there’s nothing wrong with me. I’ve learned my lesson, especially after those past seven days. And that’s about it. If it doesn’t happen, life goes on. There are many opportunities and doors that will continue to open.”
He needs those doors to open. Or he needs to close his wallet. With a reported monthly deficit of $45,000, Johnson must generate more income or reduce dramatically his expenses before his football money evaporates for good.
It remains unlikely that he’ll be earning more football money. Even before he was cut by the Dolphins last year, his performance on the field (as captured by NFL Films and HBO) seemed to be more like the guy who was forgotten during the 2011 season in New England and less like the player who once had the audacity to don a homemade Hall of Fame blazer after scoring a touchdown in a Monday night game.
Regardless, he shouldn’t have been put in jail. Now that he’s out, here’s hoping he finds a way to be productive (and solvent) in his post-football life.