Football is defined as “two opposing teams of 11 players each defending goals at opposite ends of a field, having goal posts at each end, with points being scored by carrying the ball across the opponents goal line and by place-kicking or drop-kicking the ball over the crossbar between the opponents goal posts”. To most, the term football is an American family household name, described as a gathering of friends, family, bratwursts, beer and good times. In Oklahoma, the term assault and battery is defined as “when a person threatens or attempts to cause physical harm to another person”. Assault and battery can be reprimanded by more than one penalty. Of course it varies case to case, but in general, a person who commits aggravated assault and battery in the state of Oklahoma can be sentenced to serve up to five years in prison or ordered to pay a fine up to $500 or both. What do these two terms have in common? Why do they keep appearing in our headlines? Why are they being slid under the rug?
Joe Mixon is a football running back for the Oklahoma Sooners. Mixon ranks second in the nation with his 195.6 all-purpose yards per game. Mixon is a third-year sophomore and is eligible for the 2017 NFL draft. Mixon is talented on the field, some might say. Mixon also full forcefully, ruthlessly and single-handedly punched Amelia Molitor in the face in July of 2014. Mixon gave Amelia 4 face fractures.
You can view the traumatic surveillance camera footage of the incident here.
Mixon claims that Molitor “repeatedly instigated hostile conversations” and heard Molitor using racial slurs referring to him. Mixon claims that he “turned and attempted to leave the discussion and restaurant, but … just as he did so, plaintiff lunged toward him and shoved him in the chest", Mixon's attorney stated. He also claimed that she placed her left hand on his chest and struck him in the face. Molitor claimed that she and Mixon had a heated discussion after he approached her and her friends. She claimed she was punched when she pushed him away from the table in an effort to end the conversation. In the surveillance footage, you can see that Molitor was knocked out cold suffering with 4 fractured bones.
At the time of the incident, Mixon agreed to a plea deal and was then placed on probation for a year. Mixon was also required to complete 100 hours of community service and undergo cognitive behavior counseling. Mixon has claimed that he is very "sorry" for the way he reacted that night. He apologized publicly to Molitor, her friends, his family, teammates and the University. Mixon's attorney wrote a letter saying, "He hopes that his voluntary release of these recordings will help put this matter to rest". The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled on December 6th that the video is a public record and that Norman must release the video to the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters. The video had not yet been released because the city of Norman was given 20 days to decide whether it wanted a rehearing on the incident. Molitor's attorneys have criticized the timing of the release due to her graduation ceremony taking place at OU on Friday night. Mixon could have waited but released the video now to avoid the possibility of Norman releasing the footage days before the Sugar Bowl and causing a "distraction" to the team. OU plays Auburn on January 2nd. Molitor accused Mixon of negligence willful and wanton misconduct, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
There are numerous perspectives to this incident. There are the University of Oklahoma fans who support Mixon and his apology and claim that they are #SoonerStrong. There are other fans who do not support Mixon and wish that further actions were taken. The media has been quite the frenzy. Listed below are statements, opinions, perspectives across the country.
My opinion is similar to most. I am appalled, disgusted and disappointed. My heart hurts for Amelia. You know why? She is yet another victim of assault, another victim of innocence who is passed under the rug as dramatic and minimized. Amelia’s attorneys, Ben Baker and Rusty Smith, advised her against speaking to the media about the incident for the past 2 years, but she was finally given the opportunity to share her story. Amelia sat down in an interview with The Oklahoman and shared her side of the story. Amelia goes by Mia. She stated that she felt like every single person who looked at her on campus or knew her hated her. She stated that she felt insignificant and forgotten. Mia deleted her Facebook and Twitter due to the not-so-nice messages she received. Mia had to quit her job. Mia suffered from panic attacks. Mia stated that she was mortified and fragile. Mia will graduate with a dual degree in philosophy and human relations. Mia deserves the up most respect and support, but instead she has received the opposite.
You can find Mia's interview with The Oklahoman here.
This incident leaves most of us at a loss for words. The simple act of hiding this under the rug for 2 years and allowing Mixon to get away with his actions is simply inexcusable. If it was muted for the game of football or for money, you cannot justify it. As for Mixon, you are not "brave" for releasing this video voluntarily. You are a coward. And don't bother apologizing for your "reaction" to Mia, because it was not a "reaction", it was simply an action. You acted by hitting a woman in the face, and now the world is watching. Incidents similar to this have been recurring time and time again and have led to more disappointment. You wonder why women are afraid to come forward when they are victims of assault.
As a young woman, I am hurt. I am hurt by you, University of Oklahoma. I am hurt by you, Mixon. But most of all, I hurt for Mia. No one deserves to be the victim of assault. No one.
Your apology is unaccepted, Mixon.