*(AP Photo/John Minchillo) (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
We live in a world where we are defined by our actions. Whether it’s picking up trash on the ground or lying to a friend, actions can be viewed as positive or negative and how people perceive them directly contributes to your self image and what people think about you.
Enter Joe Mixon. On July 25th, 2014, Mixon walked into a restaurant and made the worst decision of his life. He broke multiple bones of Amelia Molitor’s face and knocked her out cold. Seconds later, he walks out of the restaurant, leaving the carnage behind him.
After a criminal investigation that lasted roughly two weeks, Mixon was formally charged with a misdemeanor assault. Four days later, he was suspended for the entire 2014 football season and could not partake in any team activities. He reached a plea deal, was required to do 100 hours of community service, and had to take anger management courses. Mixon was also required to apologize to Molitor personally for her injuries and the emotional trauma he caused her.
After the case settled and the headlines stalled, the video of the encounter between Mixon and Molitor was released and the case returned to the national spotlight. The video was sickening, appalling, and unethical and it was all over the news for the whole world to see. For many people that viewed it, it built a strong sense of hatred towards Mixon and who can blame them? I was one of those people for awhile.
A lot of these people already have their minds set on how they view Mixon and how they will continue to view him in the future. That’s fine, there’s nothing I can do to convince these people to change their stance. It’s their right to feel this way and it’s a stance that’s understandable. But if you’re willing to at least hear me out on why we should change how we view Mixon, then stay for the entirety of this post and really reflect on what I have to say and where I’m coming from.
I’m not a huge religious person like some people I know in my life. I don’t go to Young Life or mission trips. I don’t read the Bible as much as I should. I go to church and apply what I learn and that’s pretty much it. I believe in the core principles of Christianity. You don’t have to be super religious to follow these principles and quite frankly you don’t need a religion to tell you to do these things, it should be common knowledge on how you conduct yourself as a person. This is how I view religion. I don’t want to tell people how they should live their lives and push religion in their faces. I want to show them by my actions and how I go about my daily life.
But what Christians do believe is that Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we can live eternal life with him in heaven. He set a precedent that our flaws and wrongdoings are forgiven no matter how harsh they can be. It is the most extreme act of forgiveness that the world has ever seen and it’s still being talked about to this day.
So I invite you to do the same towards Joe Mixon. Yes, it’s the unpopular thing to do, but if we completely shut out the idea of forgiveness towards Joe Mixon, then you’re shutting out what we know and love about being a Christian.
I believe Mixon has shown regret and has taken steps to learn from the situation — and I think at his core, he’s is a good person who did a horrible thing. The guy did everything Oklahoma told him to do, everything law enforcement told him to do, so I would ask what exactly do people want from Mixon? Should he just give up football altogether just to prove that he’s sorry? You can judge a person’s mistake on face value. But you judge a person’s heart and character according to their response to the correction of that mistake — that’s when you find out what a person is all about.
If my word isn’t enough then hear from the victim herself. Mixon and Molitor met one on one without any attorneys or lawyers and talked about the what happened. Molitor said that she “greatly appreciated” Mixon’s apology and that Mixon’s feelings were “sincere”. They both left that conversation with the desire to leave this situation behind them and to learn from it and move one. We should do the same.
Marvin Lewis said it best in his press conference after selecting Mixon in the 2nd round.
“I don’t know who isn’t disgusted at what they saw,” Lewis said of the video. “But that’s one day in the young man’s life. He’s had to live that since then. He will continue to have to live that. And he gets an opportunity move forward and write a script from there on.”
So let him write the script. It shouldn’t matter that the Bengals were the team to select Mixon. The Bengals don’t have a locker room problem. The media has painted a dark picture on the Bengals and the people that say this have never stepped foot in their locker room. They use out of date statistics to make their argument seem relevant when in actual reality it’s not. These are not the same Bengals of 2009 or 2010. Since 2014, the only Bengals player to get in trouble with the law is Adam Jones — one player. Many people such as Stephen A. Smith try to link Vontaze Burfict with Jones and classify them as thugs. Yes, Burfict has had his share of controversies ON the field. But off the field, he’s never once been arrested or charged with a crime.
People forget that this is a locker room that is filled with names like Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Geno Atkins, George Illoka, Michael Johnson, Giovanni Bernard, Tyler Efiert, and Vincent Rey. All of these players have prominent foundations that help the city of Cincinnati and help the lives of the community. You rarely hear this about the Bengals. Marvin Lewis has a track record of turning players’ lives around which is why he’s the perfect coach for Mixon. This is the perfect team for Mixon and anyone that tells you different is ignorant to the facts that I already mentioned earlier.
We are writing the script for Mixon instead of giving him a fair opportunity to turn his life around. The Bengals have provided that opportunity for him. Let’s give him the chance to not only prove that he’s a quality football player, but a quality human being too. It’ll be up to him whether he makes the most of it, not us.