On Monday Florida State freshman QB De’Andre Johnson was dismissed from the team after the State Attorney’s Office in Tallahassee released security footage of the high-profile recruit punching a female in the face at a bar.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of an eerily similar incident that happened a little closer to home around this time last year. Except, with drastically different outcomes.
Of course I’m talking about the Joe Mixon incident at Oklahoma. Mixon, out late with friends, got into an altercation with a female student inside a local cafe late one night. The similarities are astounding between the two cases.
- Both were high-profile freshman at the time of the incident.
- It would appear that in both cases the female was the first to take the altercation physical.
- Both players contend the female used racial slurs
- Both players responded with a single punch.
- There’s also security footage of both incidents.
There’s one very big difference though, the severity of the injuries. While the female in the Johnson case reportedly received injuries to her face, the punch from Mixon was absolutely devastating. According to witnesses and media members that have seen the video, Mixon knocked the victim unconscious. When she regained consciousness she was then helped up off the floor where a pool of blood remained. She was visibly disfigured, and suffered through several surgeries to fix four broken bones in her face.
If that account is somewhat graphic, that’s intended. Because by all accounts, the video of the Mixon incident is far more graphic than the Johnson video. However, as Johnson is now looking for a new home to play football, Joe Mixon will be suiting up in crimson and cream this fall.
I don’t think there’s any getting around it’s because the Mixon video was somehow successfully buried. Instead of releasing the video, a handful of media members were shown the footage in a private viewing. When the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters’ filed suit to have the video released, a judge ruled that it did not need to be turned over. Despite a new law in Oklahoma just passed to make this kind of video evidence public.
The timing of the Johnson story could not be worse for Oklahoma. So let’s talk about it. Whether you’re a fan of the Sooners or not, just from the human interest side of this story Mixon’s return is sure to create strong feelings one way or another.
CHRIS ROSS –
Honestly, at this point the issue isn’t even about Joe Mixon any more. He made a mistake, and hopefully he’s learned from it. The real issue is about how Oklahoma handled the situation. Mixon secured the services of a high-powered attorney the night of the altercation. How did that happen? I doubt Mixon pulled that off on his own, although admittedly, I suppose he could have. While we may not have seen the video, make no mistake, the OU brass did. They chose to suspend him for one season. Which as it turns out, counted as Mixon’s redshirt year.
Da fuq? So what exactly was Mixon’s punishment? Not practicing with the team?
The more I think about it though the more complicated the issue gets. I doubt many are going to feel sorry for him, but did Oklahoma do a disservice to Mixon by not dismissing him? Instead of getting a fresh start somewhere else, his career at OU will have a cloud over it. A cloud that only gets darker as the spotlight gets brighter.
GERALD TRACY –
The Johnson video is nowhere near as bad as the Mixon tape is said to be. Now, of course it’s still a terrible incident that shouldn’t have happened, but Mixon’s tape would certainly put OU on the hot seat for a lot of things. If and when the tape is released, expect a firestorm in Norman. I’m not the only one who thinks this as I have spoken to plenty of other Oklahoma media who feel the same.
DAVID POTTER –
Why should this have to come down to whether the tape surfaces? Mixon literally broke this young lady’s face. This case and Oklahoma’s handling of this incident are symptomatic of the acceptance of this sort of disrespect toward women that persists in sports even after the Ray Rice scandal. This wasn’t a failed drug test. OU shouldn’t get to chalk this up to a youthful mistake.
The fact that this comes on the heels of Oklahoma not only welcoming Dorial Green-Beckham to the team last year, but actually arguing to try and waive his mandatory year of sitting out after transferring, is disappointing. For those who don’t recall, Green-Beckham was dismissed from Missouri after multiple infractions, the last of which allegedly involved pushing a young woman down some stairs in an altercation. It would seem that OU might need to be on the list of institutions like Florida State and Missouri that appear to have serious issues with regard to respect for women within their athletic department.
Young people are allowed to make mistakes, and sometimes you have to be understanding even when they’re serious. That being said, second chances aren’t automatic. If Mixon worked at McDonald’s and was caught stealing $50 from a register, he wouldn’t be rehired, even if he maturely accepted the consequences of his actions. And yet we aren’t talking about some cash missing from a register, we’re talking about multiple fractures to a young woman’s face, but we’re still talking about reinstatement. Video or no video, this is a disgusting situation that has been handled poorly.
TRACY GUEST –
Joe Mixon basically suffered no consequences for an act of violence that is unacceptable in today’s society. What is really astounding is that there is a discussion about whether showing the video would have changed the outcome. Common sense would lead a rational individual to conclude this is a violent act based on the injuries, with or without video evidence. I applaud Florida State for dismissing their player.
CHRIS ROSS –
You’re right. It shouldn’t be about the video. Yet without it, where is the public outcry?
Would Florida State have booted Johnson without the video? Maybe, maybe not. Head coach Jimbo Fisher has said he didn’t see the video until it was posted Monday night. At which point he dismissed Johnson. Before that he was just under suspension, and Florida State hasn’t exactly been the model for player discipline.
So how in the world are we at the point where Oklahoma needs to be taking disciplinary advice from the Noles?
By far and large Bob Stoops has been a no-nonsense guy, and not afraid to cut talent should he need to. He has a long history of doing the right thing. Why was this situation handled so, so poorly then? Is the pressure to win really that high in Norman right now?
Of course Mixon deserves a second chance. I’m a big believer in that. However, that chance shouldn’t come at the expense of the victim; another student. Where is she now? Not at OU, but her, and her family, will get to see Mixon on TV this fall with ‘Sooners’ across his chest.
OU Nation can’t be happy with all the negative attention the handling of the situation has cast upon the school. This is a major embarrassment, and the fans need to know it isn’t going to happen again. Mixon knocked out a female student, but somehow it was Oklahoma that wound up with the black eye.
ROBERT SPRADLEY –
I shudder to think that it’s easier to dismiss a story like De’Andre Johnson’s if only presented in the written word. Unfortunately this type of behavior in college athletics has become a familiar part of our landscape and many of us have become desensitized.
The truth is that video paints a vividly ugly picture. Let’s not forget that Ray Rice actually practiced for the Baltimore Ravens, to the applause of approximately 25,000 fans, prior to the release of the infamous elevator video. The video has made Rice a pariah to not only the football world, but seemingly to society as a whole. Unlike Rice though, Joe Mixon was spared trial in the court of public opinion.
The tragic take away is that, in the pursuit of gridiron glory, these types of incidents are simply glossed over by athletics programs, their respective universities, and at times the communities in which they reside.
TREVOR ROGERS –
Joe Mixon should not be at the University of Oklahoma. Period. OU made a mistake by allowing him to return. I applaud Florida State for dismissing a player who seems to have done the same thing Mixon did. Oklahoma did not do the right thing. I differ with a lot of people on this issue, still though, Oklahoma got it wrong. Florida State got it right.
I hope both of these kids deeply examine themselves and move past this as better human beings, vowing that violence is not the solution in any situation with any particular person, at any given time. Hopefully the victims can find peace, and I hope that the aggressors move past this as well. It’s time to move on.