By Wade Haugen
If there were any question marks surrounding the Joe Mixon saga, and whether he was in the wrong or not, yesterday’s video released by Mixon’s attorneys answered those questions loud and clear. Mixon’s incident at Picklemen’s cafe during the summer of 2014 in which he punched Amelia Molitor, has been hanging over the Sooner football program since its occurrence.
Watching the video yesterday just confirmed what I had thought all along: How is Joe Mixon still an Oklahoma Sooner? I didn’t need to see a video to have this opinion. Any violence whatsoever towards women is unacceptable, and in Mixon’s case should have resulted in him being booted off the team immediately. As soon as I heard that it was Mixon who had punched Amelia Molitor on that July night, I assumed he would be sent packing. No matter how good of a football player you were, Bob Stoops had always put the program’s integrity and image above any individual talent. However, with Mixon, Stoops did the exact opposite. Another mind blowing aspect to the decision to keep Mixon is that Stoops isn’t the only one to blame for how the situation was handled. While Stoops will catch most of the heat for this whole situation, David Boren, The University of Oklahoma’s President, and Joe Castiglione, Oklahoma’s Athletic Director, were just as much a part of the decision as Stoops.
The fact of the matter is, if Joe Mixon wasn’t a five-star recruit, he would have been let go the morning after his altercation. But he wasn’t. Instead, Stoops and the rest of the OU brass decided to give him a one-year suspension in which Mixon was banned from all team activities. This one-year suspension essentially served as a redshirt season for Mixon, even though he wasn’t allowed to practice or work out with the team. After seeing the video yesterday, I’m not sure how this was the conclusion they came to. I have no sources to back up this statement, but for Stoops, Boren, and Castiglione to allow Mixon to stay on the team, they had to have been told that the video would never surface. Originally, that may have been the plan. Things changed, however, and now the University of Oklahoma is left to pick up the pieces from their botched plan.
For anyone who saw the video, he or she knows how vicious the punch was that Mixon landed on Molitor, causing her to fall and hit her face on a table, fracturing multiple bones in her face. The most unfortunate thing about the whole situation is that both parties were in the wrong. Nobody is going to come out of this debacle gaining anything positive. Some sources have indicated that one of the reasons that Stoops kept Mixon around is the presence of racism on that July night. Molitor reportedly slung racial slurs Mixon’s way, eventually leading to the punch. I am not one to speculate what it is like to have racism directed towards me, because it has never happened to me. In my opinion, there is no time or place where using a racial slur is appropriate, especially in the way it was used towards Mixon on that night. However, no matter how many profane, inappropriate words were directed towards Mixon from Molitor, under no circumstances were Mixon’s actions justifiable. The California native punched Molitor with an amount of force that was meant for one thing, and one thing only: damage. A terrible split-second decision by the young, star tailback will follow him for the rest of his life. No matter what he accomplishes on the gridiron, Mixon will always be known as the “guy who punched the girl”.
Do I think Joe Mixon is proud of what he did that night? Absolutely not, and quite honestly, I’m not of the opinion that he’s a bad kid. He was a 4.0 student in high school, and Oklahoma coaches have raved about his leadership since arriving in Norman. Lincoln Riley even went so far as saying he thought Mixon would eventually be a team captain for the Sooners. However, on that July night, during the summer of 2014, the 18-year-old Sooner tailback made an immature, inhumane decision that will haunt him for eternity. Mixon committed one of the cardinal sins of our society; inflicting violence on a woman, and that stigma will never leave him. Do I think Bob Stoops is proud of the decision he made by keeping Mixon on the team? No. If Stoops had it to do over again, I would hope he would let go of Mixon in a heartbeat. The success Oklahoma has experienced since that night hasn’t been worth the coinciding backlash sent their way. In this world we live in, we don’t get a chance to do things over again. The results of OU’s decisions are non-refundable, and as a result there will be an ominous dark cloud hovering above the Oklahoma football program for quite some time. The origin of this cloud resides within the right fist of Joe Mixon.