Despite being talked about on a national stage for the last 5 years, the issues surrounding sexual assault and domestic violence athletes have committed towards women have not extinguished. Last Friday, the legal team of Oklahoma football star running back Joe Mixon, released surveillance video of his 2014 assault of Amelia Molitor at Pickleman's Gourmet Cafe. Amelia suffered a broken jaw and other broken bones in her face. In court, Mixon accepted an “Alford Plea” to the misdemeanor charge of acts resulting in gross injury/outraging public decency after punching a Molitor in the face outside a Norman, Okla., cafe in 2014. Mixon was not sentenced to any jail time but did have to complete 100 hrs of community service time. Mixon did face some punishment on the football team. In result of the allegation, Mixon was suspended for his freshmen season and was not allowed to practice or meet with the team. However, Mixon did not lose a season of eligibility as the Sooners were able to place a redshirt on their 5-star recruit and the number 1 running back of the 2014 class. Here is a piece of the gut-wrenching video -- judge for yourself whether justice was served.
The horrifying video personally makes me cringe, and it shocks me how grown man can have the audacity to hit a woman like that. I was observant of the fact that the woman lashed out first, but that doesn't give Mixon the right to swing at her like Joe Frazier. If Mixon was not a star high school running back, he would have been kicked off the team while more likely facing jail time. This event shows where Oklahoma's priorities are. The University of Oklahoma released this statement following the release of the videos; "University officials were made aware of the content of the video prior to taking action with respect to Joe Mixon. Based on that information, the university immediately suspended and removed Mr. Mixon from the football team for one year, during which high standards of conduct were expected and maintained. It was made clear to Mr. Mixon on the time of his suspension that violence against women would not go unpunished at the university. Coach Stoops has been proactive in presenting training for his team aimed at preventing such behavior in the future. Sensitivity training in the area of violence has been intensified and best practices will continue to be implemented. Mr. Mixon has apologized for his actions and the university hopes that it is an indication that he has learned from his mistakes. We are an educational institution where we hope young people will learn from their mistakes and chart a better future course.”
I have to at least give credit to Oklahoma for at least giving some type of punishment to Mixon unlike the process at their fellow BIG 12 school Baylor where multiple sexual assault allegations were covered up. However, the university most likely preferred for this video to be private. Domestic violence has gone far beyond education. Oklahoma sent a weak message to its students by giving a temporary suspension of Mixon on the football team. Throughout his suspension, Mixon was still on scholarship and he still had access to athletic facilities when the team was not using them.
To give any possible light to the story, Mixon did seem somewhat remorseful and humble upon the release of the tapes. According to Nolan Clay of the Oklahoman, Mixon requested his attorney make the video public after an 8-1 ruling from the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Dec. 6 that "the city of Norman should release the video showing the punch to the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters. Mixon." Also included in the Clay report, was a statement released by Mixon through his lawyer hoping the voluntary release of the video will help everyone move on from this event; "Mr. Mixon asked us to once again say he is sorry for the way he reacted that night. He has apologized publicly to Ms. Molitor, her friends, his family, teammates and the university," Johnson wrote, per Clay. The link to Clay's full article that includes the statements, quotes, public court documents, and other reactions surrounding this case can be found here.
I certainly hope Mixon is sincerely sorry for what his actions have done to Molitor and regretful of the damages this event has done to his potential NFL career. He did not seem very concerned when Molitor lay unconscious on the ground after he struck her. Former NFL running back, Ray Rice had a similar situation happen to him two years ago, and he has not played a single down since the video of him punching his wife in an elevator were released. Mixon can learn a lesson from should Rice spreading awareness and helping domestic violence victims. The NFL should be the last thing on Mixon's minds. This video is not going to make this situation going away. This event will follow Mixon for the rest of his life. He is going to have to make significant strides to repay for the damages he has caused. My words to Joe Mixon; this event is simply not going away, and you are going to have to be held accountable for your actions. This is something that is going to follow you for the rest of your life, and you are going to answer questions about it to every professional you meet. You cannot continue to hide behind statements from your lawyer. If Joe Mixon truly learned his lesson, he is going to have speak about this event, and campaign messages against sexual assault from his own mouth. I am not rooting for this man to fall. Joe Mixon is an example of domestic violence. He can either turn himself from a villain into a hero, or the public will happily watch him fall as a villian.