The criminal charges related to the devastating punch thrown by running back Joe Mixon at the face of a young woman in Oklahoma in July 2014 were resolved months ago. On Friday, the civil claim arising from the incident was settled.
““I am happy we were able to bring the lawsuit to an end,” victim Amelia Molitor said. “Joe and I were able to meet privately, without any attorneys, and talk about our experiences since that night. I am encouraged that we will both be able to move forward from here with our lives. From our private discussions I am satisfied that we are going to put this behind us and work towards helping others who may have found themselves in similar circumstances. I greatly appreciate his apology and I think the feelings he expressed were sincere. We both could have handled things differently. I believe if we had a chance to go back to that moment in time, the situation would not have ended the way it did.”
“I’m thankful Mia and I were able to talk privately,” Mixon said. “I was able to apologize to her one-to-one. The way I reacted that night, that’s not me. That’s not the way I was raised. I think she understands that. Talking together helps move us past what happened. I know I have to keep working to be a better person, and this is another step in that direction. I love working with kids, and I’m looking for more chances to do that kind of work. I want to lead a life that inspires them, and I hope I can lead by example from today forward.”
“Going forward, Joe and I agreed we needed to move on from this situation and focus on the future,” Molitor said. “I’m now planning to attend graduate school. I still plan to speak out and support other people, whether on college campuses or elsewhere, who are faced with overcoming difficult circumstances that have attracted intense public scrutiny. I’m finished talking about what happened that night with Joe. It’s time to move on from that. I wish Joe the best of luck in his future.”
The amount of the settlement was not disclosed, which is common when it comes to the resolution of civil cases. In this case, liability wasn’t an issue; the punch happened. The question is whether and to what extent a jury would have awarded significant financial damages to Ms. Molitor, with the primary factors being out-of-pocket expenses (typically, medical bills), pain and suffering, and emotional harm.
For both sides, the question becomes picking a value that both sides can live with, as opposed to rolling the dice on an outcome that one side or the other may have found to be completely unacceptable. Also, there’s value in not going through the stress and acrimony of a trial, and the agony of waiting for the jury to return its verdict. (Of all the things I don’t miss about practicing law, waiting for the jury to knock loudly and firmly on the door to the deliberation room is the thing I miss the least.)
It’s believed that the settlement consisted of a flat, finite sum, with no percentage of Mixon’s future earnings tied to the payment.
The settlement won’t hurt Mixon’s draft stock, which currently is the subject of much speculation and debate. For any team thinking about picking Mixon, that team will now be able to proceed without ever having to worry about a public trial in which Mixon would testify — and during which the video of the punch would be played multiple times, both in court and during any news coverage of the trial and its outcome.