University of Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops says running back Joe Mixon would be off the team if the 2014 altercation that ended with him punching a woman in the face happened now instead of two years ago.
The incident happened in July 2014. Mixon entered an Alford plea to misdemeanor assault charges, asserting his innocence while acknowledging there likely was enough evidence to convict him. Mixon was ordered to perform 100 hours of community service and attend behavioral counseling. He was suspended for the entire 2014 season.
The confrontation involving Mixon occurred just over month before elevator surveillance footage showed Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rick punching his fiancée at the time. In 2015, security footage also captured Florida State University quarterback punching a woman in a bar, and those two incidents led to an increased focus on domestic violence in sports.
Stoops said during a 20-minute press conference Wednesday times have changed, and society now has a zero-tolerance policy for violent incidents.
“And that's positive in that that's the way things have gone in the last two-and-a-half years that really the only thing that's ever acceptable anymore is dismissal,” Stoops said.
Mixon told police investigators Molitor blew smoke at him and a handful of teammates outside a sandwich shop on Campus Corner shortly before 3 a.m. on July 25, 2014. He followed Molitor into the restaurant, and Mixon says Molitor’s male friend called him a racial slur. Mixon said he responded with a homophobic slur, and says that’s when video shows Molitor stand up and approach him. The confrontation then turned violent.
Stoops says he believed the then-18-year-old Mixon could redeem himself.
"If I'm at fault of something, it's hard to give up on these young men that I go in their homes and talk to their families and them about the opportunities to grow here at Oklahoma,” Stoops said. “And so again, for those who find that unacceptable, I apologize to those people."
Stoops said Mixon has kept a low profile since the incident with Molitor, although he did acknowledge an incident earlier this year where Mixon was suspended after a confrontation with an OU parking attendant. Stoops didn’t confirm whether or not Mixon would leave OU after the season to prepare for the NFL draft, but did say it had been discussed. OU takes on Auburn University in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on January 2.
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