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With the NFL draft right around the corner, there has to be one specific question on the minds of many people including NFL Executives and Coaches, Draft Pundits, the people of Norman, Oklahoma, and of course Joe Mixon himself. The question? Does he deserve a shot in the NFL?
As many people now know, Mixon is the player who was caught on video punching a young lady in the face, after she allegedly hurled racial slurs and epithets his way. Does this action disqualify him from ever having the chance to reach the pinnacle of his chosen sport? Let’s dive in further.
Let’s first start here. When most of us were growing up, whether it be siblings, cousins, classmates, or simply friends, we all experienced some form of confrontation or disagreement between yourself and another person. Now, there were always those situations where there was no one around to address or help us to correct the situation, but when there was, the both of us involved usually had to face the consequences. In the clearest and most precise way possible, this meant that although one person may have done something wrong in reaction, no matter the extent and although they would be punished accordingly, wrong is wrong and every party involved should be held accountable for their actions and the associated consequences. That is the way “society” portrays things, with those things being “rules” specifically. However, all too often, there are certain people or groups of people who apply those rules “selectively”, that is what is happening to Joe Mixon, and it just isn’t right. He is responsible for his actions, and he should be held accountable, no matter the extremes of his punishment or consequences, however, the other party should too and you just don’t hear enough about that side of the equation.
In accordance with whether he should have an opportunity in the NFL, the answer is simply yes, and here is why. This can be addressed from many different angles, however there are three in specific that I feel work best here.
The first angle would be from a human perspective. Let us say that this situation, or something similar, happened to us, a family member, or even a friend. In this situation, and probably because you have a personal connection with the accused, you would want that person to be able to take advantage of a “second chance”, or at least a chance to redeem him or herself. Our society has become one of “second chances”, where we actually do want to see the best in people. Thinking back to having a “personal connection”, you have to realize that there are those that do have this connection with Mixon, who can identify the same way you would be able to if it were your associate or relative. That is the first reason why he should have this opportunity, because he is human, we all make mistakes (big and small), and then we all want (deserve) a second chance.
The second angle here is from a football perspective. The saying often goes that you can get away with murder if you are good at what you do. The most vivid example of this principle is LeBron James and the way he manipulates the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron does and gets what he wants because as he said, he “is the best player in the world”, and has Dan Gilbert by the kahunas. Not that Joe Mixon will have anywhere near this effect, but it shows that if you’re talented enough, you can get around, over, under, and/or by with a lot more than the average Joe. This just in, Joe Mixon is really good. Looking at his numbers from this past year, where he shared the backfield with a back in Samaje Perine that will probably go between the 2nd-4th rounds himself, he did pretty well for himself. He managed a whopping 1274 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing, to go along with 538 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns through the air. These are stout numbers on their own, but when thought about relative to a “timeshare”, it’s pretty remarkable. His ability and play on the field is the second reason or angle for why he deserves a shot in the league.
The last angle, precedent. Precedent simply means “custom”, or what has happened in similar situations before. When thinking about this particular situation, and although this was a college player, the first situation that comes to mind is Ray Rice. Although Rice would eventually be “reinstated”, meaning he “could” sign with a team, no team thought his talent level matched the risk of signing him. The opportunity was there though, as it seems to be with Johnny Football, as even through everything he has dealt with over the past few years, he can still be signed by a team if they choose to do so. In other somewhat to full on domestic situations such as Brett Farve, Ray McDonald, Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson and others, they were given second chances to play in the NFL, and although Mixon has yet to play an NFL down, he deserves the same treatment.
Feel how you want, but right is right, and although he may have been wrong in punching her, we have all done things we are not proud of and would take back if we could. This action should not haunt him the rest of his life or career, because we wouldn’t want to endure such treatment ourselves, and he shouldn’t either. He did it. He faced the consequences. Now let’s give the man a chance to prove he is better for it.