Should Your Team Draft Joe Mixon?
The NFL Draft gets underway Thursday night and there is a chance the most talented player in this year's class won't be selected in the first round. Or the second. Some teams might not draft him at all. That player is Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon. Three years ago Mixon did the unspeakable. He punched a woman in the face at a bar, and the entire thing was caught on tape. Mixon was suspended for the entire 2014 season. He returned to Oklahoma and led the Sooners in rushing in 2015 and 2016. But how will NFL teams treat Mixon? The league didn't even invite him to the NFL combine. What if your favorite team is thinking about selecting him?
My team, the Green Bay Packers, are a team in need of help at running back. The top two or three running backs are likely to be off the board when the Packers pick 29th overall Thursday night. But Joe Mixon will still be there. Some teams have come right out and said that they simply will not draft Mixon no matter how late they could get him. The Jets are one of those teams, as are the Minnesota Vikings. Listen, I have no problem with an organization standing up to the issue of domestic violence and taking a stand against a certain player. Some football execs think that it isn't worth the trouble, the headache, the likely protests. I've been trying to wrap my head around this complex topic the last few days because I know that Green Bay really needs a good running back and that Mixon is still in play. So here is what I think.
I don't think the job of an NFL team is to rehabilitate men. The job of an NFL team is to win games. If Green Bay thinks that Joe Mixon can help them do that, they should draft him. If they do draft him, be honest about why. He is really good at scoring touchdowns. We need to score touchdowns to win games. That's why we drafted him. This does not make the Packer organization tolerant to domestic abuse either. If Mixon gets into legal trouble, you cut him. End of story. The Packers are the employer and Mixon is the employee. You don't obey the rules, you lose your job.
Joe Mixon did a horrible thing. It was splashed across the internet for all of us to see. But Mixon also paid the price for his actions. He served his sentence. The lawsuit with his victim has been settled out of court. He kept his nose clean at Oklahoma for his remaining 2 years. NONE of this excuses what Joe Mixon did of course. That will hang over him for the rest of his life. But shouldn't he be allowed another chance like we give so many others in this world?
Some of you have read my words and are probably thinking how can a man with two young daughters think this way? It's true. If anything like this ever happened to one of my girls I no doubt would look at things differently. My hope is that Joe Mixon is sorry for what he did. I hope that he has learned something. I hope that he has spread that lesson to other men, that it is NOT OK to hit women. I hope that whatever team drafts him is ready for the backlash. But if Joe Mixon's new team wins, and Mixon is a big reason why the conversation will change. We'll all forget why he was drafted so late. And that is the sad part. It's OK to forgive, but we should never forget.