Less than three years after breaking a number of bones in a young woman’s face with a single punch, running back Joe Mixon declared for the 2017 NFL Draft back on January 5th.
After three seasons at the University of Oklahoma, Mixon will now get to truly experience how his spineless actions back on that fateful night in 2014 will affect his attempt at a career in professional football.
Ignoring his assault of a woman half his size, the running back’s abilities on the football field have been compared to those of current and former NFL backs including Le’Veon Bell, Priest Holmes, David Johnson, and Ricky Watters.
Coming out of high school, some compared Mixon’s skills with current Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Little did those making the comparison know that the two would also share a similar ability to inflict violence on those who have no chance to defend themselves.
Following Mixon’s cold-cocking of a young woman in 2014, Oklahoma opted to suspend the running back for a season before he was able to return to the field to score touchdowns and help the school continue to generate over $70 million per year from their football team.
A few months before Mixon’s Mike Tyson impression, nearby Texas Christian University dismissed wide receiver LaDarius Brown following an arrest for a non-violent crime of marijuana possession.
In 2011, the University of Florida removed cornerback Janoris Jenkins from the team after he was arrested a for charges relating to marijuana possession. No fist-to-face contact with a defenseless woman was needed in order for Jenkins’ time at Florida to come to an end.
Even Oklahoma itself has dismissed players from their football team for incidents no worse than Mixon’s cowardice.
Back in 2008, the University kicked wide receiver Josh Jarboe off of the squad for a rap video that he posted online. Yes, Oklahoma dismissed a player from their football team for a rap video but not for a bone-breaking punch to a woman’s face.
After the surveillance video of Mixon’s harebrained act was released to the public back in December, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops told the media that the running back would have been suspended if the incident had occurred in 2016. Instead, Stoops and the University opted to give Mixon a second chance at the school after being led to believe that the running back did not have a history of violence.
However, a new report suggests that the running back’s tour of assault began back in his days at Freedom High School in Oakley, California. According to a letter received by the lawyer of Mixon’s 2014 victim, the running back also assaulted a young woman during his time in High School.
“I know for a fact he threw my daughter to the ground and hit her. I went to the school and…they hid him in the office. He got no punishment. The police even came. I was escorted off the campus as if I did something wrong. These are simply the facts, he’s a woman beater.”
– Anthony Hernandez, father accusing Nixon of assaulting his daughter
Of course, Oklahoma probably never knew about this incident (not that they would ever admit to it if they did) prior to offering Mixon a scholarship to score touchdowns for their school’s football team.
So now the running back wants to try and make it in the NFL. A league where teams have shunned players like Ray Rice and Greg Hardy for their association with various domestic violence-related incidents.
After the Kansas City Chiefs opted to draft wide receiver Tyreek Hill in 2016 (who punched and choked his pregnant girlfriend in 2014), some feel that Mixon getting drafted this year is an easy wager to win.
But Hill did not have a video released on the internet of his disturbing actions like Mixon did. The video does not make what Hill did any better or worse than Mixon, but video evidence has been proven time and time again to be much more damaging to a person’s perception by the public. Just ask Ray Rice.
So will a team decide to take on the avalanche of public criticism and actually use a draft pick on Mixon this spring?
It would be nice to easily answer that question with a definitive no. But NFL teams have never really been presented with a decision of this magnitude before.
Yes, players accused of domestic violence have been drafted in recent years (Hill, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark). But Mixon’s circumstances and baggage far outweigh any of those who have come before him.
The running back will likely find his way onto an NFL team this offseason no matter if he is selected in the draft or not. Despite the fact that many coaches and staff members in the league have daughters around a similar age to Mixon’s 2014 victim, his ability to score touchdowns still means more to some of them than the fact that he used his hand to break the bones of a young female.