Bengals WR Ochocinco trying to break news
By JOE KAY, AP Sports Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) — Chad Ochocinco is used to making news. Now, he’s trying to break some.
The Cincinnati Bengals receiver is planning to form his own social news network on Twitter, using his player contacts around the league to develop news about other teams. The idea grew out of his partnership with Motorola, which will provide the technology.
He’s dubbed the venture OCNN, for the Ochocinco News Network. He will try to compete with mainstream media to tell fans what’s going on with NFL teams.
He’s even got a slogan.
“If I break it, you might as well believe it,” Ochocinco told The Associated Press in a phone interview.
Ochocinco already spends a lot of time on social networking — he has nearly 300,000 followers on Twitter and does frequent Ustream episodes. This latest venture will be intriguing, given the way NFL coaches try to prevent news from leaking out.
The receiver plans to operate like a reporter, getting tips from players on other teams. He also might get other NFL players involved in his reports.
“I am that source now,” he said. “I’ll be the leak for all 32 teams.”
Ochocinco has already had one occasion to break news about another player. When first-round draft pick Andre Smith was close to ending his holdout during training camp, Ochocinco tweeted that he had signed. Smith’s agent then tweeted that the report was premature. When Smith was in the locker room the next day after reaching a deal, Ochocinco took a photo and posted proof.
That got the receiver thinking about doing more news-based tweets.
“I’m sort of still feeling this out,” he said. “It’s based on what I already do. I’ll bring in news the way I always do, and I’ll actually be adding to it.”
Ochocinco used the example of a network reporter who relays what they hear from sources with various teams.
“I’m knocking out the middle man,” he said.
With a chuckle, he added, “Are you nervous?”
The receiver began promoting it on his Twitter feed following a practice on Saturday to get ready for a game against the Chicago Bears.
Motorola is using the venture to promote its MOTOBLUR technology. Ochocinco will use one of the company’s Cliq mobile devices for his new social network. Motorola marketing officer Bill Ogle said Ochocinco “brings order and clarity to a multifaceted lifestyle as a professional athlete, entertainer and devoted social networker.”
It’s been a busy week for Ochocinco’s social networking ventures. A week ago, his new iPhone app was introduced. The app was developed by a company that includes Bengals quarterback Jordan Palmer and features various ways to get news on the receiver.
Between football and networking, the receiver doesn’t have much extra time.
“This is how I stay out of trouble,” he said. “I don’t go to clubs, I don’t drink, I don’t party.”
The venture will have to stay within the NFL’s restrictions on social networking by players and coaches. In August, the league sent out guidelines, allowing them to use Twitter, Facebook and other social media up to 90 minutes before kickoff, and again after games when traditional interview sessions are finished.
Some NFL teams have taken a hard line on tweeting. The Dolphins imposed restrictions on players, reporters and fans during training camp. Other teams have restrictions on tweeting from practice fields. The Chargers fined cornerback Antonio Cromartie $2,500 for criticizing the food selections at training camp on his Twitter feed.
NFL head coaches routinely tell players not to talk about their injuries to the media because it could put them at a competitive disadvantage.