On July 25, 2014 two people made two really bad choices and their lives were forever changed. Amelia Molitor chose to pick a fight with an Oklahoma football player, by pushing and slapping him, and Joe Mixon chose to respond by punching her in the face. The result was four broken facial bones for Molitor, a broken reputation for Mixon, and a tarnished image for both the OU football program and its head coach, Bob Stoops.
Last Friday the video of the incident was released (at the request of Mixon), and its as disturbing and grotesque as you would expect it be. The outrage has also been everything you’d expect it to be as well. People are mad at Mixon, mad at the university, and mad at the situation. The problem is…it was over two years ago.
Joe Mixon made a terrible choice that night. He fessed up to it, made a public apology, and, by all accounts, paid his dues. He was suspended from the football program for a year, and charged with misdemeanor assault. He took a plea deal that put him on one year of probation, gave him 100 hours of community service and behavioral counseling. He’s certainly not a victim, by any stretch of the imagination here. However, the people who are taking up issue with him still being around the program aren’t his problem.
You don’t like the way the situation was handled…not his problem. You think he doesn’t deserve to be on the team anymore…not his problem. You don’t like him…not his problem. His problem came over two years ago when he made the worst decision of his life. He’s since dealt with it and is working towards moving on, but that’s something that he’ll never really be able to do.
In the eyes of many, Joe Mixon will always be a villain. He racked up over 1,600 total offensive yards this season, with 13 touchdowns, but every measure of success he has will be weighed against punching a woman in the face. Of course, that’s not good enough for some people. Then again neither was community service, a public apology, or even a one-year suspension. Again, not his problem.
Bob Stoops can’t choose to suspend him again. They can’t decide to kick him off the team either. He, David Boren, and Joe Castiglione had previously seen the video that the entire world just became privy to. Their decision on how the university should react was based on what they saw on the video and the information gathered first hand. To think that we know more of the situation than the school administration is pretty asinine. To demand a different punishment because we’re suddenly outraged over having seen a video from 29 months ago is grossly unjust.
So…where do we go from here? We hold to our opinions and we flood the message boards with them. We argue whether there is any redeeming value to giving Mixon the opportunity to better himself at a university we love. We understand that our problem is not his problem.
At some point you and I are going to move on from this, but as long as Joe Mixon is in the public spotlight (which is going to be for a long time) he will forever be linked to that terrible night of July 25th 2014. That incident, that decision, that moment. That’s his real problem because it will always be there, and our opinions pale in comparison when stacked up against that.