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  1. Sports

Fennelly: Real injustice is Mixon playing in bowl game, not Fournette and McCaffrey skipping out (w/video)

Oklahoma football player Joe Mixon walks to the podium after passing head coach Bob Stoops as he speaks out for the first time since the release of a 2014 video showing him striking Amelia Molitor, at a press conference in Norman, Okla., on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016. [Steve Sisney | The Oklahoman via AP]

Let me get this straight:

It's a bad thing when Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey leave extra early for the NFL by skipping their teams' bowl games. But it's OK for Joe Mixon, shown on video punching a woman, to suit up for Oklahoma.

Explain that to me one day.

But people are calling out Fournette and McCaffrey, calling them quitters for sitting out their teams' bowls.

Like coaches don't jump to other schools and skip bowl games.

Of course, these players wouldn't be sitting if they were in the playoffs.

We all know that.

But these other bowls are mere exhibitions.

Fournette and McCaffrey are merely trying to maximize their financial potential, which is the American way.

It's what their universities do every time they sell those players' jerseys — and the players don't get a dime.

You say they should kick back scholarship money?

Fine, take it out of the revenue you figure they generated for their programs.

It cracked me up last week when Cowboys rookie running star and former Ohio State player Ezekiel Elliott took a shot at Fournette and McCaffrey skipping games, tweeting, "I would do anything to play one more time with my brothers in scarlet and gray."

You know, except for the 12 games (and perhaps as many as 14) that Elliott is missing this season after leaving Columbus after his junior season.

And I have no problem with that.


But when it comes to Fournette and McCaffrey, zip it, Zeke.

I mean, I watched Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves skip his final college game — and he played in it. Hargreaves and other draftable Florida Gators went through the motions against Michigan in the Citrus Bowl.

Did we really have to see that?

Let them skip.

Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen made some good points on the subject. Mullen's Bulldogs are playing Miami (Ohio) in today's St. Petersburg Bowl.

Back to players skipping bowl games …

"I don't want to judge their situations, with injury situations," Mullen said. "But what's next? If you're in the NFL and you're coming up on a contract year and you're about to get paid big money and there's four games left and you're not going to make the playoffs, are you going to sit those games? High school kids now, they're not going to make the playoffs and I've signed my scholarship. I love the team idea, football wise."

Very good points.

But college football's greed has concocted a vast array of meaningless bowl games, some of them populated with teams that don't even have winning records. That would include Mullen's Bulldogs, who got a berth in Monday's St. Petersburg Bowl with a 5-7 record.

I don't blame anyone for playing.

I don't blame Fournette and McCaffrey for not being on the field.

What should upset us is that Joe Mixon will be on the field.