Spanish Teachers Unite to Tackle Serious Issue: NFL Player’s Jersey Number

chad ocho cinco

Apparently this was on Deadspin, but I read the education sites each day before I hit sports, so I’ll tip the hat to Mr. Russo.

The Bengals wide receiver formerly known as Chad Johnson legally changed his name recently to Chad Ocho Cinco to reflect his jersey number of 85 – and now “Ocho Cinco” will appear on the back of his jersey in place of the old “Johnson.” Cue the outrage!

Rubes like me don’t know much about Spanish. We just know that Teddy Roosevelt whooped the Spanish single-handedly and that a lot of people in California [like Spain, another foreign country] speak their language. I’ll do my best to sum up the gripes detailed by these scholars of the language – consider this testimony fair warning.

Here’s the meat:

Why is Carlson, and many other Spanish teachers so upset? “Ocho cinco” actually means “eight-five”, while “ochenta cinco” or “ochenta y cinco” would be the correct formations of 85 in Spanish.”

Yes. Yes, I follow. The question I’m having trouble with is…

… so what? Another scholar explains:

Aaron Carlson, Spanish teacher from Kearney, Nebraska explains: “Chad’s little prank is making it difficult for us to effectively teach numbers. Students think that we are teaching them wrong because this clown can’t use a dictionary.”"

I wouldn’t call a legal name change a “little prank,” but Kearney is entitled to his mouth-frothing.

Take a step back, Mr. Carlson. Is Chad Ocho Cinco’s football jersey the highest hurdle you face as an educator? If so, don’t let the education world know – your school will get about 40,000 applications for its next job opening.

Perhaps Kearney and others could use this as what the proper ed-school graduates and certified teachers – not me – call a “teachable moment.”

Really, how often does grammar in any language come up in pop culture? It’s a fairly interesting bit – taking 3 minutes to describe how “ocho cinco” reflects the “8″ and “5″ on his jersey and not the cardinal number “85.”

This might be one of the few times when I’d argue that the discussion would facilitate engagement among students, and that the engagement would be a valuable thing.

Chad Ocho Cinco seems to grasp the gravity of the issue:

“I really don’t care, you cant stop me either way,” related Ocho Cinco. “Maybe next year I’ll go with Acht Fünf. That’s some German right there.”"

As soon as these teachers pound out a solution to this intellectual rift, they might want to tackle two other problems in high school education.

1. High school teachers don’t know basic English, as evidenced by the mean GRE Verbal score of 484.

2. High school teachers don’t know basic math – algebra and geometry – as evidenced by their mean GRE Quantitative score of 576.

Both of these scores are well below the mean. Verify it here [PDF] at your leisure. I recommend you take solace in knowing that your bosses aren’t any better off.

Good job, guys. The grammar myth of The Ocho Cinco Jersey? Consider it busted.

Hell, the Spanish teacher article is probably a fake, but since I read 20 real education articles a day this ridiculous, I’ll treat it as true.

4 Responses to “Spanish Teachers Unite to Tackle Serious Issue: NFL Player’s Jersey Number”

  1. Colin says:

    not to mention, in football and in other sports, players are often referred to as the individual digits of their jersey number. For instance, Brady is called “one-two” in practice. Ocho Cinco was likely referred to as “eight five”, hence his translation.

  2. Colin,

    Basketball, too, when the refs are calling fouls with hand signals.

    I think the writeup has to be a joke. Too Onion-ish.

    But I still love it.

  3. Kevin Pierce says:


    NEWSWIRE–Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson has legally changed his last name to OchoCinco (Spanish for “eight, five”) in recognition of his uniform number.

    It dozen matter if you meant to,
    Or if you had a strong in ten to;
    It dozen matter how you run
    Or whether you have lost or one.
    It dozen need a great debate
    (Unless it’s caused by what I eight):

    Words and numbers should not mix;
    Four them two do so makes me six.
    Light verse, ripped from the headlines

  4. Julia says:

    Amazingly enough, widespread usage of “axe” for “ask,” “Me and mom went” for “Mom and I went” and the ever ridiculous “..gave to him and I” for “..gave to him and me.” never stopped any English teacher of mine from effective instruction.

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