Joe “punched that girl” Mixon – My take on it.

Whether you agree with the Bengals choosing Mixon or not. You are right. There is no correct way to feel about him and what he’s done. It was horrible. It’s a horrible video and I can understand anyone who wouldn’t want him on their team. I can also understand people who have looked past the incident as a one-off and support the team and him in his future in the league. (credit James Rapien for the opening to that!)

For me personally. I feel I am a very logical person, perhaps too much so sometimes in a way that makes me appear cold and un-emotional. Although I bawl my eyes out to the start of Up, so surely i’m not that heartless, lets be fair though, who doesn’t? It’s the saddest start to any film ever…anyway, I personally believe he’s done his time, taken his punishment and should be allowed to carry on his chosen profession. It just so happens that that profession will make him a multi-millionaire and people don’t like bad guys doing good. Talking of doing good. I think it would be a very sensible idea for him to give a proportion of his salary for his career to charities that work with the victims of abuse, maybe even the one that Mia Molitor is reportedly going to be setting up, The Bengals will get him working in the community and from what I’ve read he has done that in Oklahoma before getting drafted.

Over here in the UK the main comparison in recent times would be Ched Evans who was accused of, and found guilty of rape, served time then had his conviction quashed but was harassed constantly afterwards and struggled to get back into his chosen career because of what his career was. Again, my opinion… He served his time. The judicial system is supposed to be there to rehabilitate and educate offenders, once their time is served, they are apparently rehabilitated and should be allowed to continue their chosen profession. He’ll always be known as a rapist despite his conviction getting overturned. The same way that Lee Hughes will always be known as someone who killed others while driving. As it happens they all returned to football and carried on as if nothing had happened after a short hullabaloo.

@neilreynolds posted a piece on the draft recently that had the Bengals as losers because of the pick. That it brings back the reputation that the Bengals have for taking bad news players. While I can see his point to a certain extent. The other way of looking at it is that they give players a second chance. A chance to reprise their careers and make themselves a better person. Whether that works or not is a different thing. Adam Jones being the prime example of a person who will never change despite being given chances to improve he has thrown that back in the face of the organisation and they realistically should have let him go this off season after his altercation with a police officer. Burfict is another who has the reputation as a horrible person. How many times has he been in trouble off the pitch? And in fairness how many times last season was he in trouble on the pitch? Last season I believe he got two flags against him, in the entire season? (he was suspended for the first 3 games…) I’m not blind or biased enough to say he’s not a dirty player on the pitch, one of many in the league, he definitely lets say… “pushes things to the limit”, and the two guys mentioned won, and then helped lose a playoff game in 2015 with their bone headed behaviour, although there was very little criticism of the Steelers coach Joey Porters behaviour in the incident because hey, it’s fun (and easy) to bitch about the Bengals, especially Burfict. Maybe because of that reputation that Neil was on about.

On to Mixon. Since he was touted to the Bengals a month prior to the draft I have read a lot and seen a lot about him and the incident. He made a mistake. A horrible mistake that he will have to live with for the rest of his life, he’ll always be known as the guy who punched that girl, he should have been jailed for it, he wasn’t, he was suspended from football for a year and had to do 100 hours community service. He did that, he served the time he was told to do and he has seemingly come back stronger for it. He was a day over 18 when it happened. He was young and stupid. He got a slap to the face (that may or may not have been due to homophobic abuse and possibly him spitting after hearing himself being referred to as nigger, a whole lot of he said, she said in this case) and instinctively reacted. It was done. And he, and she have had to deal with it ever since.

Everything I have read about her makes her out to be a very strong woman. She has had to deal with trolls every day since, such is the furore around college football, she closed her Facebook and Twitter pages, was the subject of whispers and abuse everywhere she went on campus. She was seen as the girl who got the star player kicked out of the team. She carried on and graduated college, she’s now going on to further study and plans to start a non profit organisation specialising in helping women and children who have been subject to abuse. Fair play to her.

Before the draft they settled their civil suit and met with each other and he apologised. (it has been mentioned by Mixon that he wanted to meet her earlier than this and talk about it earlier but was advised by his legal team not to do either of those things) it’s worth saying that she apologised too, she was not blameless in the incident, she was aggressive towards him too (and if you read some was hardly the model citizen she has been made out to be in some areas). She has said that they both should have dealt with the whole thing much better. She has forgiven him and moved on. She probably wants the whole thing to be forgotten as much as he does. The statement from this meeting is Here.  I feel I should also say that since that incident he’s been a pretty much stand-out person at the university apart from the parking official incident that people seem intent on bringing up, because you know, he’s obviously the only person in the world to get irritated by a parking official.

On to my second point in this whole affair. There were a considerable number of players in this draft with shall we say “baggage” amongst them and drafted around where Mixon was, Dalvin Cook who was also rated as one of the best backs in the class, who similarly fell out of the first round due to his off the field antics which have hardly raised an eyebrow in the world outside of football. -Robbery (2009 when he was 14) -Firing a weapon (2010) -“Criminal Mischief” (2014) -Mistreating puppies (2014) -Aggravated assault (2014–not charged) so a repeat offender. However he was from a particularly rough part of Miami and it’s not like other players haven’t had similar upbringings, going to the dark depths of Minnesota is probably the best thing for him.

Dede Westbrook is probably the biggest scumbag to be drafted since Tyreek Hill though, (Tyreek punched and choked his pregnant girlfriend and was drafted in the fifth round last year and had a stellar year full of media acclaim) Mr. Westbrook however was accused of throwing the mother of his two children to the ground in 2012 and biting the same woman’s arm and punching her with a closed fist in 2013. It doesn’t look great for Oklahoma who then recruited him, and of course also had Mixon on their books! He wasn’t prosecuted for either incident as the woman refused to co-operate with investigators.

BUT with both of these guys. There was no video, no physical proof of their offences, and as such they hardly get a mention in the grand scheme of things, same as the Tyreek Hill incident from a year previous.

So you tell me who has the bigger red-flags and is more likely to re-offend now a professional? A guy who has gotten away with it scot-free all this time, who has been accused then had the woman who accused him refuse to co-operate with police leading to zero repercussions? Or a man who has had numerous run-ins with the law all of which have finished with him being released without charge? Or a kid who has had to deal with his actions on one particular night and will forever be known to great swathes of the nation he plays in as a woman-beater, who has had to deal with people asking him about it every day of his life since? To me there is no character risk with Joe Mixon. There will be a backlash for the first few weeks of his career before people forget about it. Luckily for him people in the modern world have an attention span less than a goldfish and will find something else to be offended by pretty quickly.

http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2016/2/23/11099472/joe-mixon-arrest-suspension-video-oklahoma – has a good write up of the whole timeline of events, although again provided in my opinion with a skewed view.

 

Adam. @cavey007

 

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