Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Drafting Joe Mixon: Hey Bucs, don't even think about it (w/video)

The Bucs look like they need a running back. There's a running back out there who could be an absolute steal in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Could be a perfect fit.

Talking about Oklahoma's Joe Mixon.

And the Bucs better not have a thing to do with him.

Don't do it, Tampa Bay. Let's agree on this now before the draft so we don't disagree on this after the draft.

Maybe Mixon will be a model citizen the rest of his life. Maybe he will have a heck of an NFL career. But, if I'm the Bucs, that potentially-marvelous career will happen with another NFL team.

Mixon's past of abusing a woman, even if it was a one-time event, is simply too toxic.

It won't be easy to walk away from Mixon, especially if backs such as Florida State's Dalvin Cook and LSU's Leonard Fournette end up going somewhere else. There's no question that Mixon is an extremely talented football player. How good is he?

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So good that a player once considered undraftable because a horrendous off-field attack of a woman is suddenly racing up the draft boards. Some think he might even be a first-rounder.

Knowing that, there's a pretty good chance that every team that passes on him could end up regretting that decision.

But a bigger regret would be taking a player who did what Mixon did.

Watch this video.

It was 2014. Mixon was 18 at the time. In the video, a woman is leaning on a table talking to a male friend at a Norman, Okla., sandwich shop and is approached by Mixon.

The woman claims Mixon made an unwanted sexual advance, a claim Mixon denies. There were allegations of gay and racial slurs from both sides. Whatever isi said angered the woman enough that she shoves Mixon in the chest and he responds by faking as if he is going to hit her.

The woman then swings with her right hand and hits Mixon on the neck. Mixon then punches the woman in the face with a right fist. The woman crumbles to the floor, hitting her face on the table as she goes to the ground.

Mixon calmly walks out of the shop.

Mixon's punch broke four bones in the woman's face. He accepted a plea deal and received one year of probation, counseling and 100 hours of community service. He was suspended by the football program for one season.

He returned in 2015 and Mixon rushed for 2,027 yards the past two years.

And that's where we are.

The story picked up steam more recently because video of the event was released to the public last December, more than two years after the incident. That's a video, by the way, that the City of Norman and Mixon desperately tried to keep from being released because they knew how appalling it was.

Now what?

Mixon supporters and fans of teams who only care about getting good football players will argue that everyone makes mistakes, especially 18-year-old kids.

But not everyone makes that mistake. Mixon's violent rage against a woman goes well beyond a "dumb mistake.'' Violence against a woman isn't the result of a bad moment. It's the result of a serious character flaw. It reveals a disgusting attitude toward the opposite sex that simply cannot be tolerated.

Eighteen is old enough to know that.

Maybe some things, such as violence against woman, aren't deserving of a second chance.

"While I believe in second chances and giving players an opportunity for redemption, I also believe that playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right," Patriots owner Bob Kraft told the Boston Herald. "For me, personally, I believe that privilege is lost for men who have a history of abusing women."

Kraft has said that the Patriots will not draft Mixon. Reports say the Dolphins won't either.

And there is no indication that the Bucs will take him.

But others are considering it and have met with Mixon.

Many credit Mixon for apologizing and owning up to what he did.

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"I made a bad decision," Mixon told the television show, PFT Live, in late February. "Ever since that night I have to live with it. I've got to re-live it every day. You can never forget something like that. It still haunts me to this day, but it's what you do from that point on. You can't take it back. I can replay it in my head a thousand times, and if I could take it back I would, but I can't."

Then again, what else is he supposed to do? We're now giving credit for apologizing and owning up to something we all know happened because we saw it on video? Is he truly sorry? Or is he showing contrition because that's what he has to do to save his NFL career?

If that apology was truly sincere, we would've heard it two years ago, not just lately.

Someone is going to take Mixon in the draft. There's a chance he's going to help that team win football games.

Let's just hope that team is not the Bucs.

Contact Tom Jones at [email protected] Follow @tomwjones

 
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