Former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon’s stock may be falling as the draft approaches as teams worry about the public reaction to drafting a player who was caught on video punching a woman. A new poll won’t make teams any more eager to draft Mixon.
A Marist poll conducted for HBO’s Real Sports found that the vast majority of fans — 87 percent — say that they would oppose their favorite NFL team drafting a top college prospect with a history of physical violence against women.
The question, however, is whether a poll like that can be believed. It’s easy to tell a pollster that you don’t want a violent player on your favorite team. But how many fans would stop buying tickets or merchandise for their favorite team, or stop watching on television, because Mixon or another player with a similar off-field incident were on the team?
Last year, the Chiefs drafted Tyreek Hill even though he had been kicked off the team at Oklahoma State for a domestic violence incident in which he was initially charged with felony domestic abuse by strangulation for attacking his pregnant girlfriend, an incident that ultimately resulted in him pleading guilty to domestic abuse. Some Chiefs fans might have voiced their disapproval, but they were drowned out by the Chiefs fans who cheered Hill while he scored 12 touchdowns as a rookie.
Perhaps 87 percent of Chiefs fans would have told a pollster before last year’s draft that they didn’t want Hill on their team. But almost all Chiefs fans cheered him once he was on the team. If Mixon scores 12 touchdowns as a rookie, he’ll hear the cheers, too.