Joe Mixon, an Oklahoma running back who would be a first-round draft prospect based on talent alone, today released a two-year-old video of himself punching a woman hard enough that he broke bones in her face.
The video is reminiscent of the video that ended the NFL career of Ray Rice. It shows Mixon following Amelia Molitor into a restaurant and then hitting her, swiftly knocking her face-first to the ground. Molitor first initiated contact with Mixon by pushing and slapping him, but the response by the much bigger and stronger Mixon was far out of proportion to Molitor’s actions. Molitor and Mixon have very different stories about what precipitated the altercation; Mixon said he heard Molitor or someone she was with use a racial slur, while Molitor said she heard Mixon use a homophobic slur.
Mixon released the video himself because a recent court ruling gave the media the right to access the video, and it was only a matter of time before it became public. Once it was assured that the public would eventually see the video, Mixon figured it made more sense to get it out of the way now. Mixon was put on probation for a year as part of a plea deal to a misdemeanor assault charge, and a lawsuit brought by Molitor is pending.
Oklahoma officials had already seen the video but allowed Mixon to play on the team anyway. He redshirted during the 2014 season but remained at the school and has played in 2015 and 2016.
For NFL purposes, this video will make it difficult for a team to justify drafting Mixon, who is eligible to enter the 2017 NFL draft but could also choose to stay in college. Chiefs rookie Tyreek Hill fell to the fifth round of this year’s draft because of his own incident of violence against a woman, but the Mixon case may be more complex. Mixon is an even better college player than the very talented Hill was, but Mixon’s violent incident comes with video, which the Hill case does not. Right or wrong, a video changes public perceptions. The video is why Rice didn’t get a second chance in the NFL while other players who committed acts of violence against women did.
The Mixon video is ugly, and there’s little doubt that his name is now off many draft boards. The question is whether any team at all will be willing to be associated with Joe Mixon.