University of Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops now says the one-year suspension he gave to running back Joe Mixon for punching a female student was not tough enough. Stoops also claims that if the incident happened today, he would have had to kick Mixon off the team.
Stoops told reporters, “Two-and-a-half years ago, thought we had a significant penalty, a strong penalty. Now, it isn’t enough. These individuals can’t have a second chance. Just not acceptable. And they know it anymore and they’ve been told enough. We have more meetings and things of that nature that instruct and let them know what appropriate behavior is and isn’t and what the consequences are.
“Dismissal is really the only thing that is possible. A young guy having an opportunity to rehabilitate and to have some kind of discipline and come back from it is really not there anymore. Hopefully that message goes down even to the high school level that these things are just unacceptable to any degree and there’s no recovering, I guess … it never has been acceptable, what I’m saying is there’s no recovering from these incidents really anymore.”
Amelia Molitor, the Oklahoma student that Mixon punched in the face, suffered four broken bones. Since the 2014 incident, Stoops has faced criticism for not booting Mixon off the team.
Unlike the NFL’s Ray Rice situation where the league claims they never saw the video of Rice punching his then-fiancé, Bob Stoops along with AD Joe Castiglione and University President David Boren all viewed the tape of Mixon’s assault soon after the incident.
Reporters asked Stoops about his reaction when he first saw the video. Stoops said, “It was horrible. I hated it. I hated it as much as anybody did, absolutely.”
Asked whether or not he felt Mixon’s presence on the team constituted an acceptance of violence against women, Stoops said, “sure to some degree it does.”
Stoops claims that he brought Mixon back to the team because he wanted to give Mixon “an opportunity to redeem himself,” holding out hope that the young player could “possibly be forgiven.” Though, plenty of people have suggested that the real reason for Mixon’s opportunity at redemption had more to do with his status as the crown jewel of Oklahoma’s recruiting class.
Stoops responded to that as well, “I understand where people come with that. But let’s remember that he had not played a down here when this all occurred. We’ve had plenty of four- and five-star guys not amount to a whole lot here through the years. In the end, I understand where people come with that, but I believe in these young men we recruit, maybe to a fault to some degree. I believe most coaches do. But again, here we are 2½ years later and you can’t really do that anymore.”
Stoops makes a rather incredible statement here, that he handled the Mixon case based on the notion that America in 2014 essentially equaled the Wild West and represented a society and culture far less harsh on men who brazenly assaulted women.
The fact that Ray Rice’s domestic violence incident also occurred in 2014 easily dispels this idea when, thanks to massive public outcry, the NFL essentially nuked Rice’s career. So the idea that America in 2016, and America in 2014 are two separate universes makes no sense at all. The only difference between the Ray Rice video and the Joe Mixon video is that the Rice video went public while the Mixon video did not.
Stoops likely made his decision based on the fact that the video hadn’t been made public, not based on any act of benevolence or concern for Mixon’s chances at redemption.
This season, Mixon has rushed for 1,183 yards and eight touchdowns, in addition to 449 yards and five scores on 32 receptions. The fact that Stoops knew Mixon had that kind of potential probably had nothing to do with his decision not to kick him off the football team.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn