In the coming NFL offseason, talent evaluators from all 32 teams, including the Ravens, will spend hundreds of hours watching game tapes. They’ll try to find the potential draftee who can make their team better in the short and long term.
Yet the most impactful tape of a prospective NFL player will have footage that has nothing to do with football action.
Joe Mixon is passing up his senior season at the University of Oklahoma to be a professional and there are reports that he’s one of the best running backs coming out of college. But all those reports, his workouts and his highlight tapes and their potential bearing on Mixon’s chance to make a roster pale in comparison to the footage of him punching a woman in the face in July 2014.
None of this was news. Mixon entered an Alford plea to a misdemeanor charge of assault three months after the punching. He was given a one-year deferred sentence and ordered to do 100 hours of community service as well as undergoing counseling.
Mixon was also suspended from the football team for a year, his freshman year. That’s when many colleges stockpile young talent to let it mature while playing older players, but Oklahoma considered it a punishment.
What few outside Mixon’s circle and that of the school knew about was the existence of the aforementioned surveillance tape, made public by the state Supreme Court as part of a civil case.
In the footage, a woman enters a restaurant with another person and goes to a table. Roughly 10 seconds later, a man, identified as Nixon, also enters and goes to the table. Some dialogue is exchanged, the woman pushes Mixon, whereby he punches her and walks out.
Before the Sooners played in their bowl game last month, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said that, in retrospect, Mixon’s punishment was too light and would have been more stringent had it happened in 2016, not 2014.
Since the tape emerged, more than one person, most notably television commentator Brent Musburger has spoken about Mixon making the most of his second chance, meaning his reinstatement.
Rarely spoken by Stoops or Musburger or hardly anyone else in the sports media complex is Amelia Molitor, the name of the woman that Mixon hit.
Amelia Molitor belongs to that growing class of women who are abused by athletes and are expected to fade into anonymity because, to our knowledge, she doesn’t have a fast time in the 40-yard dash, can’t bench press 200 pounds or elude tacklers as she catches a pass out of the backfield.
No one asks what she does with her second chance, because Amelia Molitor won’t fill 70,000 seat stadiums or run for a touchdown.
In the next few weeks, we’re told that members of the Ravens’ brain trust will gather at owner Steve Bisciotti’s Florida home to discuss the team’s future.
They’ll undoubtedly look at film, perhaps some of Joe Mixon running. For the good of the organization, some tape of Joe Mixon hitting Amelia Molitor should be required viewing as well.
And that’s how I see it for this week.
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