Sports, Domestic Violence and The Joe Mixon Mess

There is no excuse.  There is no plausible explanation. And there is no way that Joe Mixon should play with his team in the upcoming Sugar Bowl game against Auburn.

Here’s the back story from The Early Lead:

Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops made his first public comments about a 2014 surveillance tape that shows running back Joe Mixon punching a female student and, if anything, his words revealed that when it comes to violent incidents, colleges are still trying to figure it out.

Especially when the athlete involved is a star and, as the NFL found out in the Ray Rice case, awful video of a woman being slugged exists.

“Two and a half years ago, [I] thought we had a significant penalty, a strong penalty,” Stoops said at a news conference Wednesday, defending the one-season suspension he gave Mixon. “Now, it isn’t enough. These individuals can’t have a second chance. Just not acceptable. And they know it anymore, and they’ve been told enough. We have more meetings and things of that nature that instruct and let them know what appropriate behavior is and isn’t and what the consequences are.

“Dismissal is really the only thing that is possible. A young guy having an opportunity to rehabilitate and to have some kind of discipline and come back from it is really not there anymore. Hopefully that message goes down even to the high school level that these things are just unacceptable to any degree and there’s no recovering, I guess . . . it never has been acceptable. What I’m saying is, there’s no recovering from these incidents really anymore.”

In the 2014 incident in an off-campus restaurant, Mixon struck fellow student Amelia Molitor in the face, breaking four bones. Three days later, he told police in Norman, Okla., that he simply was reacting to both a racial slur uttered by one of Molitor’s companions and what he described as a hard swing Molitor took at him. Mixon, in video footage of a police interview published by the Oklahoman, said he felt as if “a dude hit me” and reacted.

“The gay dude … he called me something,” Mixon said in the video. “He was like [slur]. So then I was like, you got me messed up. And then I called him a [slur]. And after that, the girl, she dropped her purse, that’s when she came in my face, pushed me, and then my glasses came off, and then, like, I had, like, jumped at her, like, to watch out. And then she came in my face. I put my head down. And she swung on me.

“And after that, like, I was so shocked, because she hit me so hard. It felt like a dude hit me. And after that, like, my face went boom, my reaction was just right there.” …

“I mean, even though she pushed me, I didn’t think she was going to hit me,” Mixon said, repeating what he said earlier in the interview. “I was so shocked because she hit me so hard, it felt like really like a dude hit me. And then, like, my face just started ringing. And after that, like, it was just like a reaction.”

Stoops, who first saw the surveillance video along with university President David Boren and Athletic Director Joe Castiglione in the district attorney’s office shortly after it occurred, allowed Mixon to rejoin the Sooners team after serving a one-season suspension.” It was horrible,” Stoops said. “I hated it. I hated it as much as anybody did, absolutely.”

Still, he allowed Mixon, who would likely be a top draft prospect if he decides to forgo his last two years of eligibility after the Sooners’ Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl appearance, to play after his suspension. Stoops was asked if that left the appearance that the school condones violence women, especially when committed by a star football player, and Stoops replied that he was “sure to some degree it does.”

“And I regret that,” Stoops said. “In the end, at the time, we felt it was a significant and strong punishment. And, again, some people that seen the entire (video) at that time agreed. And others didn’t. I understand that and I always knew that that was something that everybody would debate.”

The surveillance video was released by Mixon’s attorneys at his request last week. Mixon is shown from two camera angles on that July 2014 day approaching Molitor at a table at Pickleman’s restaurant. They exchange words and Molitor pushes Mixon, then slaps his neck. Mixon punches Molitor, whose head strikes the table as she falls to the floor.

Mixon, who apologized last month, was charged with a misdemeanor but agreed to an Alford plea, receiving one year of probation with cognitive-behavior counseling and 100 hours of community service. Molitor sued him for negligence, willful and wanton misconduct and intentional infliction of emotional distress, but the first two claims were thrown out by a judge last month. The latter claim remains active.

Stoops told reporters that he did not think it would take so long for the video to be released and the city of Norman was forced to do so after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, who had filed a complaint under the state’s Open Records Act. The city had until Dec. 26 to release the video or file an appeal and Mixon’s attorneys took a preemptive step last week, with Molitor’s civil suit still pending. In his only interview with members of the media at Oklahoma, Mixon has declined to answer questions about the incident.
By Cindy Boren, Matt Bonesteel, The Early Lead

Don’t Pick A Bad Time To Have A Bad Game 

There really isn’t a good time to have a bad game, but here is a bad time to have a bad game.  And last night on MNF, the formerly playoff bound Washington Redskins laid a rotten egg. Against the Carolina Panthers, led by Cam Newton, the ‘Skins looked as bad as you can look. The ‘Skins lost a  critical, pivotal game AT HOME to the Panthers who are no way near where they were or what they were last year. Cam and the Panthers are generally a shell of their former selves that went 15-1 last year en route to the Super Bowl.

Kirk Cousins lost a fumble and threw an interception, and both turnovers couldn’t have come at worser times. But that wasn’t the worst of it.

Last night, the Redskins in general, and their usually trustworthy, productive and reliable tight end, Jordan Reed, had a night to regret. Reed’s Monday night couldn’t be any worse. The Redskins tight end, who is playing through a shoulder injury, caught one pass for 6 yards through the first three quarters against the Panthers. And he didn’t get a chance to improve those numbers in the fourth quarter.

His night was over because he threw a punch at Kurt Coleman late in the third quarter, which led to a flag and his ejection. Not too smart.

So, the moral of the story is plain. Don’t pick a bad time to have a bad game. Keep you cool and your composure, because it’s not about you. It’s about your team. Because you’re better together.

Who is Malik Monk – a.k.a., Why Don’t You Like College Basketball?

Kentucky North Carolina Basketball

Note to Kentucky Wildcat fans: Who is Malik Monk?

“If you watched that game, and if you never liked basketball, you’re going to start liking basketball,” Coach John Calipari said. “Play fast, score quickly, open the court up and let these kids do their thing.”

Malik Monk was considered by some to be an on again-off again collegian who was undisciplined and didn’t show up for or come through in every game. Yet come through he has, as he just played the game of his life just when his team needed him most. And he’s a FRESHMAN — and it’s only December. Come on March madness!

Monk’s scored 47 points against the North Carolina Tar Heels.  It was the highest-scoring game by a Tar Heels opponent since 1970. So it was only fitting that he took the go-ahead 3-pointer from the wing with 16 seconds remaining to cap his record setting outburst and lift No. 6 Kentucky to a 103-100 victory over No. 7 North Carolina on Saturday in the CBS Sports Classic at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Monk, who made 8 of 12 3-pointers, said he took the winning 3 instead of driving because he was “in the flow.” It was a packed house, and everyone was going crazy,” said Monk, who scored 27 in the first half.

Even after Monk set a Kentucky freshman scoring record, Calipari found a flaw in his 6-foot-3-inch star’s effort. “How many rebounds did he have?” said Calipari, who knew the answer was zero. “He’s special, but he’s got a lot to learn.”

And so the spiritual tie in is clear: if a freshman Phenom can carry his team on his back and beat an arch rival opponent on the big stage, then you and I can rise and shine and give God the glory as we disappoint the  devil and prove all of our haters wrong.

You Can Bet On God


I’m going to Las Vegas!

I’ve never been so I’m really excited and looking forward to the trip with my family. The funny thing about telling folks about the upcoming trip is that almost everyone is asking me about gambling and playing the slot machines. “Are you going to the casinos?” they ask. Of course I’m going to the casinos, but I’m not going to gamble. I don’t gamble or bet or wager, at least not casually or professionally, whatever that means.

And I don’t bet on sports. I know many do, and Pete Rose is the quintessential example of why players, and the rest of us too, shouldn’t bet on sports. But my focus is here is not betting on sports. My focus here is to encourage you to bet on God.

Thanks right. You should bet on God. When you’re down on your luck and need a break, God will come through for you. He will. He’s done it for me time and again. And if you trust and never doubt, He will surely bring your out. He will. Just trust and obey, for there is no other way.

So, while in Vegas, I will be betting. Not on the slots or the craps or the poker or the bingo. No, no. I’ll be betting on God’s providence and promises and provision and protection. Yes, I’ll be betting on God to come through for me and for you too.

The NBA or the NFL? Who’s Hot and Who’s Not?


The NBA or the NFL? 

Right now, it’s hard to tell which sport is hot and which one is not. Both the NFL and the NBA are intriguing and exciting, heart pounding and foot stomping. Ever since Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook split up, the NBA has been hotter than all get out. And on the other side of the ball, the Giants just beat the Cowboys, my pick to win this year’s Super Bowl.

So who’s hotter? The NBA or the NFL? While each compete for high ratings and the top ranking, we get to sit and watch.

Army Beats Navy! a.k.a, End The Losing Streak


Army ended a 14-year run of frustration against Navy, using an overpowering running game and opportunistic defense to carve out a long overdue 21-17 victory. The Black Knights’ 14-game losing streak was the longest by either academy in a series that began in 1890. Army (7-5) now trails 60-50-7 in one of the nation’s historic rivalries.

Navy (9-4) was coming off a physical 34-10 loss to Temple in the American Athletic Conference title game and had only one week to prepare for Army with a new quarterback, sophomore Zach Abey, who was making his first college start. Abey took over for Will Worth, who broke his foot against Temple.

Unfortunately for Navy, their replacement quarterback was thrown into the fray and struggled to execute. He ran for two touchdowns, but also passed for only 89 yards and was intercepted twice. Navy had four turnovers, three in the first half. By halftime, Army led 14-0 and owned a 14-1 advantage in first downs.

But to Army’s credit, they exploited their opponent’s weakness. And we need to find a way to do the same. The Bible says that we are “not ignorant of the Devil’s devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11, KJV). That means that “we are familiar with his evil schemes” (NLT). Since we know how he operates, we can know how to avoid falling into his traps.

This year, Army finally ended their losing streak against their arch rival Navy. And at the end of this year, there are some bad habits and backward thinking and boorish behavior that we need to put an end to as well. In other words, there are some losing streaks that you and I need to end, too.

Cool Runnings Says, “Finish!”


Cool Runnings is the true rags to sports riches story about the humble hubris of the human spirit.  When a Jamaican sprinter is disqualified from the Olympic Games, he enlists the help of a dishonored coach to start the first Jamaican Bobsled Team.  And the irony is that they finished, but not first or even in the middle of the pack. The team’s borrowed bobsled broke going down the track and they had to carry it on their shoulders across the finish line. But they finished nonetheless. 

According to Roger Ebert, “it’s not a bad movie. In fact, it’s surprisingly entertaining, with a nice sweetness in place of the manic determination of the average sports picture. The actors playing the bobsledders have a nice comic charm, especially Doug E. Doug as a high-energy guy named Sanka Coffie. And John Candy has a couple of stirring speeches that he somehow delivers as if every word were not recycled from other films. If you like underdog movies, you might like this one.”

And here’s some more inspiration from some sports and entertainment greats:

Sports do not build character. They reveal it.
John Wooden

The mark of great sportsmen is not how good they are at their best, but how good they are their worst.
Martina Navratilova

Sports is the toy department of human life.
Howard Cosell

Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.
Michael Jordan

Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.
Lou Holtz

Most football teams are temperamental. That’s 90% temper and 10% mental.
Doug Plank

A winner never whines.
Paul Brown

I wouldn’t ever set out to hurt anyone deliberately unless it was, you know, important -like a league game or something.
Dick Butkus

The reason women don’t play football is because eleven of them would never wear the same outfit in public.
Phyllis Diller