When he was 22 years old, Chad Johnson pleaded guilty to domestic violence against a girlfriend — a dozen years before he was arrested Saturday night for allegedly head-butting his wife, Evelyn Lozada, which led to being cut by the Miami Dolphins and perhaps prematurely ending his NFL career.
TMZ reported that the six-time Pro Bowler was found guilty of battering a woman in 2000. According to court records obtained by TMZ, Johnson was arrested for misdemeanor domestic battery in Los Angeles prior to heading to Oregon State University, on February 7, 2000. The report said the victim was a girlfriend who told police the football star slapped her in the face after he accused her of cheating on him.
According to court records, Johnson pleaded no contest, and the court found him guilty of domestic battery.
Johnson was sentenced to 3 years probation and ordered to serve 45 days in L.A. County Jail. But Johnson struck a deal with the court which allowed him to avoid jail by completing 30 days of graffiti removal work with CalTrans. Johnson was also required to complete a 12-month batterer’s counseling program and ordered to stay 100 yards away from the victim.
However, court records indicate that Johnson did not complete his probation requirements in a timely manner, for two years eschewing the court order of graffiti removal and completing the domestic violence program. After a judge tacked on an additional 15 days of graffiti removal, Johnson finally completed his legal obligations in 2002. By then he was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
The case that has put Johnson’s career in jeopardy arose when he and Lozada got into an argument over a receipt of condoms she found in her car. She told police Johnson head-butted her. According to the report, Lozada, one of the featured women on the reality TV show, “Basketball Wives,” had a three-inch cut on her forehead.
Johnson claimed innocence when confronted by police. He’s expected back in court soon to enter his plea.
Meanwhile, hours after he was released on Sunday, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin announced Johnson had been cut. He later said the termination of his contract was more than about the arrest.
“Again, it was more a body of evidence from June 11 forward,” Philbin said. “When he came in on June 11, we sat down and we talked and I was very clear as to the expectations of the program. It just didn’t work out. It’s more about the fit; in my gut I didn’t think the fit was going to be beneficial to either party moving forward, whether in the short term or the long term. That’s really what it was all about. It wasn’t about one specific thing; it just wasn’t going to work.”