With the 48th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday selected running back Joe Mixon, the Oklahoma product who was caught on video punching a woman so hard it broke bones in her face.
When Mixon declared for the draft back in January, we wrote the morals of NFL teams will be put to the test when it comes to making a decision on him. The Bengals, infamous for giving guys like Pacman Jones second chances, said they’ve done their due diligence on Mixon and are confident the team and player can “move forward” together.
A civil suit filed by Amelia Molitor, the victim of Mixon’s punch, was settled about a week ago.
“I don’t know who isn’t disgusted at what they saw,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said of the video, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “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. It’s come to a conclusion with the young lady. They’ve come to their statements, her statement about how they both would have liked; probably should have handled the day better, but again that doesn’t change it.”
Loosely translated: “Mixon has massive potential in the NFL, so we’re willing to overlook the horrific incident.”
Mixon was emotional and humble after hearing his name called Friday night:
While Mixon’s situation is the most egregious, there are at least three other players drafted Thursday or Friday who are dealing with or have dealt with allegations of violence against women.
— In the third round, the Cowboys selected Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis, who faces a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence from an alleged incident March 15.
According to the Detroit Free Press (via Dallas News), Lewis’ longtime girlfriend accused him of dragging her across the floor, grabbing her by the neck and briefly holding her on the ground during an argument last month.
Lewis, of course, has a different version of the story, saying he may have grabbed her neck in an effort to get her off of him, but that he was not trying to hurt her and in fact, was trying to leave the scene.
“Like I told everybody else, I completely think that all charges will be dropped,” Lewis said Friday. “I think I will be exonerated from everything. I’m completely innocent.”
Lewis’ trial is scheduled for July 24.
— On Thursday, the Raiders made Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley their first-round selection. Conley has been accused of raping a 23-year-old woman earlier this month in Cleveland, but he’s yet to be arrested and on its surface, the accusation seems dubious.
According to a Cleveland police report, the woman said she accepted Conley’s invitation to his hotel room to watch others have sex – she didn’t want to actually have sex herself. But, she claims, she was raped by Conley in the bathroom before he kicked her out of his suite.
The Raiders don’t believe there’s much to the accusation.
“Bottom line, we’ve done miles and miles of research to make sure we were totally comfortable with our decision, which we were,” Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie said, per USA Today.
— Finally, the Vikings picked running back Dalvin Cook from Florida State early in the second round Friday night. Last August, Cook was found not guilty of a misdemeanor battery charge, after being accused of hitting a 21-year-old woman outside a Tallahassee bar on June 23.
It took the Leon County jury less than a half hour to come to the not-guilty verdict.
So there are clearly different degrees of seriousness with these players’ situations, Mixon’s ostensibly the worst since it’s right there on video.
We do believe in second chances, though, and we’re pulling for these guys to make the most of theirs.