Photo via Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Football is never a stranger to controversy, and as the 2017 NFL draft finished up this weekend, another questionable decision was made. Former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon was drafted in the second round by the Cincinnati Bengals.
It’s hard to forget Mixon’s past. By this time most people have seen the 2014 footage of Mixon punching a female student and breaking four bones in her face. He was suspended during the entire 2014 season, and never really made a comeback until the 2016 season.
Let’s ignore the debate about whether he should’ve been a first-round draft pick—he definitely has the talent. In his senior year, Mixon ran for 1,274 yards, had 538 receiving yards, and scored 15 touchdowns.
There’s a moral component to think about which the Bengals seem to have justified in their heads.
The thought process goes, “well he’s a bad guy, but we drafted him in the second round, so its okay!” And somehow this is supposed to make it better.
Everyone wants to think that character is important in sports. These are guys that we look up to as we see them go through college, get drafted, and have careers in the spotlight. Athletics host many household names, but, as we know, many of them fall short in the role model department.
There is a long history of teams compromising their moral fiber to pick up a good player, and the Mixon pick is just another part of the saga.
Has Mixon stated his regret? Yes. Were his actions deplorable? Undoubtedly. Should he have been drafted? It is hard to say.
We are finally learning that character doesn’t make even a tiny difference in professional sports. There are always amazing, larger-than-life guys in sports and we shouldn’t forget those guys. However, the Bengals just cared about what player could help them win on Sundays.
I watched the video of Mixon’s altercation again this morning, and it left a bad taste in my mouth.
We will see in the coming years if Mixon has truly changed and won’t get into trouble off the field. Nonetheless, I side with the idealistic notion that he shouldn’t have been drafted at all.
Idealism doesn’t have much of a place in the NFL if it could jeopardize a chance of winning more football games.