The tone is hushed on the 911 emergency phone call that landed former Miami Dolphins wide receiver Chad Johnson in jail — there is no screaming or frantic voices, just a calm next-door neighbor requesting police be dispatched to handle a “little domestic dispute.”
Still, the phone recording — released by police Monday evening — offers further evidence that Johnson’s wife, reality TV star Evelyn Lozada, did indeed suffer noticeable injury during her heated argument with the football star. Lozada accuses Johnson of headbutting her after the couple began feuding over a receipt for condoms that Lozada discovered in Johnson’s car.
During the 911 call, the unidentified neighbor tells the operator that Lozada “probably is going to need stitches.” The neighbor can then be heard whispering “wipe yourself” — presumably telling Lozada to attend to her still-open wound.
At one point in the recording, Lozada is heard saying, “he headbutted me.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Johnson gave police a different version of events — telling officers it was his wife who actually headbutted him. Police believed Lozada’s story, however, and arrested the player on a battery domestic violence charge.
Johnson bonded out of jail Sunday, and within a few hours was unemployed — the Dolphins had cut him from the team.
At 34 years old, Johnson appears to be past his prime physically, and the negative publicity surrounding his arrest could deter any other teams from offering him a contract.
And as if being booted out of professional football wasn’t enough, the financial hits for Johnson kept coming Monday, as VH1 network announced it was cancelling its planned “Ev and Ocho” reality TV series. That show, originally scheduled to start airing next month, was set to chronicle the married life of Johnson and Lozada, who tied the knot in July.
In the Saturday 911 call, Johnson’s neighbor repeatedly urges police to not make a huge scene when coming to the neighborhood. Though not mentioning Johnson by name, he tells the operator the case involves a “high profile person.”
“We’d like to keep it as quiet as possible,” the neighbor says. “We don’t need the news here.”
For such a celebrity couple, keeping the matter private would prove to be impossible. On Monday, the Internet was ablaze with articles and Twitter comments about Johnson’s downfall. Always a prankster, Johnson earlier this month told the media that he would pursue a career as a porn actor if the Dolphins cut him from the team.
Now, with Johnson’s career in shambles, a Miami-based porn film studio even tweeted that its “door is open” for the six-time Pro Bowl player.
Other reaction focused on how Johnson had eerily — though jokingly — foreshadowed his own demise on the season premiere of HBO’s Hard Knocks football documentary series. The show is profiling the Dolphins training camp this year, and in the first episode Johnson is caught on camera telling a team staffer, “I promise I’m getting arrested when we’re off.”
Until now, both Johnson and Lozada have thoroughly embraced the media glare. Johnson’s highly-publicized antics included legally changing his name to Chad “Ochocinco” in honor of his No. 85 football jersey. Johnson also performed on “Dancing with the Stars,” appeared in a cameo role in the movie American Reunion, and starred in his own hot-selling iPhone game called Mad Chad.
Lozada, who was once engaged to ex-Miami Heat star Antoine Walker, became a household name through her starring role in the VH1 reality show Basketball Wives. But the show’s sometimes-violent exchanges also prompted heaps of criticism, including some who called Lozada a “bully.”
An online petition was started months ago, seeking a boycott of Lozada’s planned VH1 spinoff show featuring her and her new husband. The petition topped 30,000 signatures in May.
“This is not a hate petition against Evelyn Lozada,” the petition states. “We simply will not support violence.”
On Monday, the petition had been updated with news of the cancellation of “Ev and Ocho.’’