Chad Johnson Explains His Orca Obsession, Kisses Lolita at Miami Seaquarium
Chad Johnson is a complicated man. The NFL's most infamous loudmouth is actually an introvert. He has 4 million Twitter followers, but mostly hangs out alone. He's a ladies' man, but now claims to be celibate. He listens to Andrea Bocelli and is addicted to ChapStick. He is an enigma, wrapped in Urban Outfitters, and doused in David's Café.
@ochocinco via Twitter Chad loves Lolita
But if there is one thing that confuses people most about Johnson, it's his fascination with killer whales.
After hanging out for a day with Ochocinco at Miami Seaquarium, we can finally explain his orca obsession.
Johnson has either tweeted or been tweeted about orcas more than 1,400 times in the past month. It is safe to say that nobody has been this fascinated by killer whales since Free Willy.
Sometimes, his Twitter followers complain of orca overload. But Johnson keeps bombarding them with tweets about the animals, like the fact that there three types of orcas, all of which have different diets. Or that they've never killed a human in the wild.
So why is Johnson so obsessed with orcas? We went to the Seaquarium with him to find out.
Sitting in the bleachers before the show, Johnson said that he sometimes comes here three times a week. Orcas are his escape, he said. His grandmother, Bessie Mae Flowers, first took him to the Seaquarium when he was 7 or 8 years old. He was a kid from the concrete streets of Liberty City who had never seen wildlife. "She was the first thing I ever saw that was outside the norm of what I was used to," he says of Lolita.
He also feels an affinity with the animals. As the show begins, the similarity between the man and his orca become apparent. Lolita explodes from the water 20 feet into the air on command, not unlike Johnson catching a pass after a huddle.
Fast and powerful, both have spent their lives performing athletic tricks for strangers. Both are too smart for their own good. And both can be dangerous. (Johnson pleaded no contest to domestic battery last year. In 2010, an orca killed its trainer at SeaWorld.)
Michael E. Miller Chad Johnson's zen moment
It was only after the show, however, that we really saw Johnson's deep connection to orcas. He initially tried proposing to Lolita's trainer, Heather Kennan. When he found out that she was married, he settled for a kiss from the killer whale herself.
After planting his lips on the 7,000-pound whale's tongue, Johnson jumped up as if celebrating a touchdown.
"I don't need a woman when I'm tonguing a killer whale," he said. "My life is made. If I could have gotten into the water with her, I would have died and gone to heaven."
"The whale's tongue tasted like oysters," he added. We headed straight towards the Seaquarium gift shop.
"Mr. Johnson, can I get a photo?" asked a gangly kid behind the counter. Johnson didn't skip a beat.
"Sure, if you show me all the killer whale stuff you've got," he said.
Johnson grabbed a giant, plush Lolita doll and two glass orca sculptures. The total damage: $284.87. I asked him if they were gifts for his four kids.
"Hell no, these are for me," he answered. (Sure enough, the doll now adorns his bed and the sculptures are on his coffee table, near his NFL helmets.)