‘Ev and Ocho’: Keepin’ It Real Goes Wrong

Accused of domestic battery, NFL and VH1 star Chad Johnson may have killed his career on and off the field.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Christopher Polk/Getty Images

(The Root) — The so-called fairy tale has turned out to be a nightmare. Reality-show stars Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Evelyn Lozada’s romance has officially come to a screeching halt. [UPDATE: Lozada filed for divorce on Tuesday, claiming her 41-day-old marriage to Johnson is “irretrievably broken,” according to reports.] Johnson was arrested over the weekend on a domestic-violence charge after allegedly head-butting Lozada in a car. Apparently, the two were arguing over a receipt for a box of condoms found in the trunk of his car.

Following Johnson’s arrest, VH1 pulled their reality show, Ev and Ocho, from the schedule because of the “seriousness” of the incident. And the Miami Dolphins terminated his contract, which could be the final nail in the coffin of a once-promising NFL career.

Johnson’s real-life excellence on the football field is now a mere memory, thanks to the bright lights and overexposure of reality television. Some may forget that he is a six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver and instead mostly recall his foray into reality television on The Ultimate Catch, Dancing With the Stars, The T. Ocho Show (with fellow NFL troubled player Terrell Owens) and eventually Basketball Wives as the love interest of hot-tempered Lozada. Johnson’s willingness to moonlight in that world has cost him the job of a lifetime — the possibility of playing and retiring with the Miami Dolphins, his hometown team.

Johnson’s fall from grace reflects the reality of life unscripted. Unlike reality television, where folks fight it out — physically and verbally — with few consequences, real life may not have a security team, gaffers or camera operators on standby to break up altercations. There is no editor to “edit around” a fight scene so you don’t violate parole or get charged with domestic violence. If you get in a fight or allegedly attack your wife, there are consequences, some of which are jail time, the loss of a job and the loss of your reputation in the community.

Fans of Basketball Wives know that Johnson and Lozada’s “relationship” included constant bickering and struggles over defining their status. At one point, Lozada acquiesced to Johnson’s philandering, giving him permission to have sexual relations with other women outside of the marriage and to invite women into the bedroom as long as she approved of his choices.

The marriage was never based on so-called traditional values in the first place, which is why it is perplexing that Lozada would be angry about finding a receipt for condoms in the trunk of their car. Shouldn’t she be happy that her husband is using condoms with the women he beds outside of their marriage?