Former NFL player Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson is still grieving the loss of his mother Paula Antoinette Johnson who passed just over a month ago.
On social media Johnson has posted numerous photos and videos of moments he shared with the 65-year-old he referred to as his “everything” and “Wonder Woman.” Though the public moments shared are of happiness and laughter, there is still a fresh wound that the former gridiron warrior is coping with.
Former Bengals wide receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson shared that his mother, Paula Johnson, passed away in January. @ochocinco/Instagram
On the “I Am Athlete” podcast, Johnson and fellow retired NFL players Fred Taylor, Brandon Marshall and Channing Crowder discussed the significance of Black men checking in on one another, and how men can be strong and still cry. It was this conversation that brought the former Bengals receiver to tears.
Johnson opened up about his mental state since suffering the devastating loss. He explained that in all other aspects of his life he’s at a level 10, but his mother’s death has taken a toll.
“Mentally, you know we lost mom, I lost mom, I lost my Hurricane, and so, um, probably now a 7. It f—-d me up a little bit,” he explained as he became choked up. He recalled knowing that something was terribly wrong when several family members called him.
“I knew it was an issue, and I called my brother right away. And then he answered the phone crying. I just hung up,” said the 43-year-old. “I already knew what time it was, and then I mentally prepared myself to bury my ol’ girl,” he continued while trying to fight back tears that would inevitably fall.
“I’ve done my grieving, and I will continue to grieve over and over. I will continue to cry over and over.”
The conversation, that showed Black men in dialogue about the societal norm of men having to shy away from being vulnerable, was applauded by viewers who agree real men can cry and still be strong.
“Seeing Black men have this conversation in a public forum is everything. THIS is the content we need!”
“Love conversations like this. This is definitely needed.”
“As a man we aren’t given ANY sympathy in this world nor are our feelings ever something that is brought to the table when discussing where we are in life.”