New York, NY
New England Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocinco and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have had some disagreements and run-ins in the past, mainly due to the flamboyant player's touchdown celebrations.
So it came as a surprise when Ochocinco expressed full support for Goodell, whom he fondly calls "Dad", amid criticism the league has been receiving concerning its handling of concussions.
The issue on head injuries came to fore once again after San Diego Chargers star linebacker Junior Seau was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest at his California home.
Recently, thousands of former NFL players also have sued the league over what they claim was willful ignorance of the dangers of head injuries.
The NFL has attempted to get a stronger hold on player safety by adopting stronger concussion testing policies and issuing hefty fines for hits involving the head.
Ochocinco, on his official site OCNNReport.com, posted a letter of support to Goodell, saying that "since no one is showing any support, I figured I would be the first".
At the same time, the wide receiver warned the Commissioner that "the mounting evidence being revealed publicly will say it for you very soon".
"I know it has been a rough week, so I wanted to reach out. Players dying, players suing and on top of that my peers are just going off on you in the media. It does not help that ESPN has all of a sudden become Medical TV with damn near every brain expert on the planet. This has got to be the worst week ever," Ochocinco said in his letter.
Ochocinco suggested to Goodell to "kill" the NFL PR machine because it has failed to serve its purpose and clear the negative air surrounding the concussion issue.
"You are in one big ass catch 22 and quite frankly, I am not sure there is any solution. One thing I think can help is killing the NFL PR machine," Ochocino said.
"Y'all do a darn near perfect job at portraying this game as one played by heroes.
But let's be real dad. This is a nasty, dirty and violent game with consequences. Sign up or go get a regular job. Watch it or turn off the TV and go fishing with your kids," he added.
Ochocinco also expressed belief that only Goodell himself can save the NFL from the mess. "In all, I love you and if anyone can lead us out of this mess, it will be you," Ochocinco said.
In his letter, Ochocinco informed Goodell that he is planning to have a rebound year and have a lot of celebrating in the end zone.
"Can my fine money go to supporting ex-players suffering?" he asked Goodell.
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