In the 2nd round, my Cincinnati Bengals selected Joe Mixon with the 48th overall pick in perhaps the most controversial pick of the 2017 NFL draft. This, of course, is because Mixon was arrested in 2014 with punching a woman in the face and breaking four bones in her face. This occurred in the summer before his freshman season playing for the Oklahoma Sooners. Mixon reached an Alford plea deal which meant that he could maintain his innocence while also admitting that the prosecution had enough evidence to convict. He was suspended for his entire freshman season, but was allowed to remain at school. Mixon was reinstated with the OU football team after his suspension ended and played the entire 2015 season. He led the team in rushing in 2016. Mixon was not invited to the 2017 NFL combined due to its new policy of not inviting players convicted of domestic violence or sexual assault. During this time, 28 of the 32 NFL teams stated that Mixon was absolutely off their draft board. One week before the draft, Mixon reached a settlement with the woman after a private meeting.
The Bengals’ selection of Mixon does not help their reputation for having players with off-the-field issues. The obvious example is Adam Jones, who has had a very rocky NFL career in terms of off-the-field actions. He was recently arrested this past year for spitting on a nurse at the hospital and then headbutting a cop. However, this selection of Mixon begs the question: Do players like Mixon deserve a second chance for a horrible decision made when they were still teenagers? Mixon was barely 18 years old when he was arrested for striking a woman in 2014. While players should obviously know better by this age that striking a woman at all is a terrible action, it should not ruin his chance to ever play professional football ever again. In Mixon’s case, I do not believe that it should end his career. It was a poor decision for which he seems very remorseful. In his interviews, he has seemed like a nice man who let rage get the best of him in one scenario. However, if he ever commits a similar crime, he should never be allowed to play in the NFL again because these actions are now part of a pattern. Players with patterns of domestic violence should most certainly not be allowed to play professional sports. Mixon deserves a second chance and if he stays away from trouble could become of the best running backs in the NFL. He will be an interesting player to watch in the future to see if he can play with the level of talent he did in college while also staying away from trouble off the field. I will keep an open mind to Mixon before I judge him for his past. I want him to succeed in the NFL and believe that everyone should hope for his success and not root for his failures. So here’s to you Joe: I’m rooting for you and hope you do great thing for this franchise and for this league. Who dey!