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To the team drafting Joe Mixon: Evaluate the decision to determine if the criticism you receive will be worth investing in his talent. Look at this as an opportunity. Domestic violence is a nationwide epidemic, and the NFL has a bad reputation for turning a blind eye for talented players. In his press conference, he said he wanted to be an advocate, and I would hold him to it. Ray Rice did this and has pledged millions to fight domestic abuse. The “second chance” story has been overdone, and as Dale Hansen said, there are no second chances in murder. They need to do something about their actions, but only if it’s genuine. In Mixon’s press conference, you can tell he is a young person who messed up big time, and he knows it. I disagree with Coach Stoops when he says, “His opportunities don’t need to be finished in a reactionary moment.” The NFL needs to be more careful handing out these endless second chances. The more we give, the more the domestic abuse cycle continues. Sometimes reactionary moments are very telling of true character.
To the media covering Joe Mixon: If I were in your position, I would have to be careful with my bias. I realize I place athletes on a pedestal, (the glove didn’t fit and I refuse to believe O.J. did it!) and I understand why it would be easy to slap him on the wrist for this because of his talent. Report the facts of this situation and try not to let emotions cloud the story. Cover the draft pick, say something about his altercation, and address how he plans to reconcile it. In my interview, I would ask the obvious questions: Why did the club decide to take the risk on Mixon with his violent past? How could they take the risk on him since he also had an outburst about a parking ticket after the first one? I would also ask about his talent: What will Mixon add to the team as a running back?
Video made the difference: There is no way to watch that video without getting emotional. Seeing the video changes the story. All cases of domestic violence should be taken seriously. It shouldn’t matter if there is a video or not. Ray Rice was cut after his domestic abuse scandal, but they didn’t cut him until after they saw the video. They likely cut Rice because he was a more seasoned athlete, and they didn’t want to take the PR risk. The Chief’s Tyreek Hill had similar circumstances as Mixon, but there was no video. Hill was put on probation and drafted last year. There should be punishment if there is a video or not, but visual evidence is good for showing the reality.
I have no doubt there are many athletes that do similar acts, if not worse, that will never face their mistakes the way Mixon had to. Without the video, you wouldn’t see a teary-eyed Mixon apologizing for his actions in the press conference. His mistake happened in seconds, but just one interrogation from the press was 26 minutes long. He wants people to learn from his mistake, and I do think this video will prevent some, not all, cases of domestic violence. If it saves one woman’s life, it is worth it. It’s not right to exploit one’s mistakes, but it might stop domestic violence across the country.
I wish Mixon luck and look forward to seeing how he turns his mistake around and succeeds in Cinncinnati.