The Ochocinco "brand" begins to re-emerge

The Ochocinco "brand" begins to re-emerge
October 15, 2011, 3:06 pm
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It's starting. For more than two months, "Chad Ochocinco, Patriots wide receiver" was able to keep "Chad Ochocinco, Marketing Brand" in the basement. But "The Brand" is restless. And this week, it peeked out to see if the coast was clear to start promoting itself again. It began with an end to Ocho's Twitter silence, an extended layoff from the social media forum that he said came as the result of a lost bet.
During his first return foray, he ripped back at fans who criticized him for a lack of on-field production and his notable late-game drop in the Patriots only loss of the season at Buffalo. And then on Friday, Ocho's girlfriend Evelyn Lozada, started marketing shirts mocking Ocho's lack of production for the Patriots. Ocho put up a half-hearted protest on Twitter, asking, "You hating also?" Of course, he also re-sent the path to make a purchase to his nearly 3 million followers so they'd have a chance to follow along and buy a shirt if they wanted to. It's impossible to believe Ocho didn't sign off on this little marketing campaign by his girlfriend. And if he'd taken real exception to it, he wouldn't have passed along the link. Talk about tone deaf. How do you think that goes over with teammates who are busting their asses to perform when a guy who dropped a touchdown pass in the team's only loss is signing off on someone making a buck off his ineffectiveness? How do you think that goes over with the coaches working to get him up to speed in an offense he's so far been an afterthought in? How does it go over with the people who are giving him 6 million to play football. Extreme example? Imagine if, after two weeks, Devin McCourty's girlfriend had started selling "Devin Can't Cover" t-shirts. Ocho is far from a bad person. He's a fascinating guy who is making the most of the life he's carved out for himself. Football has played a major role in his being able to create an audience, but football is only a part of who he is now. It is a means to an end and the end, it seems, is fame, attention and being able to share his life-view with a sprawling forum. The Patriots like to say about their best players, "Football is important to him." Football might be important to Ochocinco, but it's far from the most important thing he's got going. But even I'm surprised to see that selling t-shirts that make a joke of his vocation is more important to him than the game.