Our own Alan Schechter spoke about still avoiding Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon even after the settlement. I say the Buccaneers should go for it should the opportunity present itself.
Joe Mixon, the Oklahoma running back who punched a woman in the face a few years back, is still one of the most divisive players in the draft. He will likely remain so throughout his professional career. Understanding that, there will be a team that will spend at the minimum a second day pick on him. The Buccaneers may find themselves in a position to be that team.
Saturday, it was reported that Mixon and the victim – Amelia Molitor – reached a settlement. They met privately – no lawyers, no representative, just them – and talked things out. This shows an awareness by both parties to move past this unfortunate night and both get on with their futures. As I’ve said numerous times, whether in writing or on the Walking The Plank Podcast, I will not excuse Mixon’s violent action. He was wrong. Period.
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That doesn’t mean that under the right circumstances I’m not willing to give a person a second chance. Mixon, for as wrong as he was, has been forgiven by Molitor. Their statements show that there was wrongdoing on both sides that each of them regret and they both wish they could go back and change how that night transpired. Again, not an excuse for Mixon’s actions, but there is now an awareness that he is attempting to display of exactly how wrong he was.
Mixon expressed his regret and spoke about how he has learned from this and how – in the future – he wants to take this experience and help teach people how not to make the same mistake.
Among all of this, what stuck out to me was something Molitor said;
"“From our private discussions I am satisfied that we are going to put this behind us and work towards helping others who may have found themselves in similar circumstances. I greatly appreciate his apology and I think the feelings he expressed were sincere. We both could have handled things differently. I believe if we had a chance to go back to that moment in time, the situation would not have ended the way it did.”"
Go back. Read it again.
“I greatly appreciate his apology and I think the feelings he expressed were sincere.”
If that is indeed how Molitor feels, then we should be open to giving Mixon a second chance. Putting him in a locker room with the leadership the Buccaneers have wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Guys like Jameis Winston and DeSean Jackson have overcome public scrutiny. Guys like Gerald McCoy and Robert Ayers are true, genuine guys that can mentor and inspire Mixon. Kwon Alexander dealt with personal tragedy and can be an eye-opening voice in Mixon’s ear. And Dirk Koetter? Well, Koetter isn’t going to sugarcoat anything. He’ll be in Mixon’s head from the get-go making sure he’s on the straight and narrow.
With the need at running back and the talent Mixon possesses, Jason Licht may feel comfortable drafting him knowing what kind of locker room Mixon would be joining, knowing what kind of leadership is there on the coaching staff to make sure this kid sticks to his word about being a better person.
Maybe this news is meaningless to the Bucs. Maybe it’s the last little piece to get them over the hump and decide to keep him on their board and make him a sure fire day two target. Either way, the Joe Mixon draft saga is getting a little more interesting.