Over two years ago Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon made a terrible choice, now the superstar must make an incredibly difficult decision. Does he stay at the university that gave him a shot at redemption, or does he take his tarnished image to the NFL? Based on the comments made by Bob Stoops on Wednesday, it doesn’t sound like the decision will be entirely left up to Mixon.
In addressing the media for the first time since the video of Mixon punching a woman at a local sandwich shop was released, Stoops stated that the decision to retain Mixon (then a true freshman) was made with the idea of redemption in mind.
“Fault me if believing that an 18-year-old without prior violence situation whatsoever and in altercation had the wrong and horrible response that he did, that he might have an opportunity moving forward to redeem himself, improve from it, grow from it and someday possibly be forgiven,” Stoops said to the media. “That was the intention, if he chose to come back, and that’s what we had hoped for.”
Mixon was given the option of taking a one-year suspension from the football program or being granted a full release to another school. Mixon chose to stay the course and stick it out at Oklahoma, but will he make that choice one more time after all of the events that have unfolded since last Friday?
For his part Stoops was clear that the decision to keep Mixon around wouldn’t have happened in 2016 or anywhere else in the future. “That’s positive in that that’s the way things have gone in the last two-and-a-half years that really the only thing that’s acceptable anymore is dismissal,” Stoops said. “We didn’t go that route two-and-a-half years ago. Again, thought that this young man deserved an opportunity moving forward to have a chance to redeem himself and to grow out of it and to be positive out in the community, and that was the intention.”
While the redemption theme played out in Stoops’ press conference, when asked if the university had done enough in terms of punishment the response was, “two-and-a-half years later it’s fair to say it [the punishment] isn’t enough.”
So where does that leave Mixon? He’s a redshirt sophomore which makes him draft eligible, and he’s shown enough of his skill-set to NFL scouts that he would definitely hear his name called this spring in the draft. How high would a franchise take him though?
Former Oklahoma State standout Tyreek Hill was booted from the program after a domestic violence arrest. After landing at West Alabama for the 2015 season, Hill was taken in the fifth round of the 2016 draft by the Kansas City Chiefs. While he certainly took the long road to NFL stardom, he did manage to get there. Hill was labeled “undraftable” by many scouts because of his arrest but someone took a chance on him anyway. The thing is, there wasn’t a video out of Hill’s incident and whoever takes a shot on Mixon will have to deal with the video before anything else.
Another year of separation from the July 2014 incident would do Joe Mixon some good. It would be another year to mature, another year to grow, and another year to try and put his past behind him. But is the door still open at Oklahoma?
“Well, again, that’s to be considered, sure,” Stoops said when asked if it would be best for both parties to separate and move on.
Credit Bob Stoops for standing alone (David Boren and Joe Castiglone should have been there with him) and being as candid as he could have been with the media. That had to have been one of the toughest things he’s done in his eighteen seasons at OU. Probably nowhere near as tough as the next decision he, and Joe Mixon, must make though.