Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Chad Johnson loses endorsement
By Darren Rovell
Chad Johnson's difficult week continued Wednesday, as coconut water brand Zico dropped the wide receiver from its endorsement roster.
The drink company told ESPN.com that Johnson's endorsement deal, just announced on July 25, is over.
"The Zico brand is about supporting naturally powered athletes," the company said in a statement. "We partnered with Chad Johnson because of our great respect for what he has achieved on the playing field.
"However, in light of recent events involving Mr. Johnson, we have decided to terminate our relationship. The values we espouse, through our employees, our customers and our brand, are central to our mission. We have taken this proactive step to demonstrate just how important those values are."
It is not clear whether the company had the right to terminate Johnson with cause or is still paying him.
Johnson was arrested Saturday after allegedly head-butting his wife, Evelyn Lozada, and was cut by the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Lozada filed for divorce Tuesday.
Although Johnson is not currently on an NFL roster, Reebok spokesman Daniel Sarro said he was still under contract with the company.
Other athletes Zico has under contract include Kevin Garnett, gold medal-winning decathlete Bryan Clay and professional surfer Bethany Hamilton.
Johnson -- formerly known as Chad Ochocinco -- and Lozada were prominently featured in the recent first episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Miami Dolphins." The television series recently aired a segment during which Dolphins coach Joe Philbin told Johnson that the team had decided to release the six-time Pro Bowler.
"Where we are as a program, and where you are, and where we're headed, I don't see the mesh right now," Philbin said on the latest episode of the show, which aired Tuesday.
"I wish it was different. I wish I could tell you something more encouraging. I think it's just best for both of us that we part ways at this point in time."
Johnson, who had signed with the Dolphins following a disappointing season with the New England Patriots, apologized to Philbin during the meeting.
"I let you down a little bit," Johnson said. "A lot. I understand what you're doing. You got the message across clear the first day we met. I apologize for embarrassing you, and our organization, my teammates."
Darren Rovell is ESPN's sports business insider.