Baker Mayfield Eats A Face Full of Humble Pie

Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield is who he is, and he just learned a long overdue lesson in humility.

In fact, all athletes and sportspersons everywhere the world over got another lesson in humility and sportsmanship and modesty and gamesmanship courtesy of Baker Mayfield. The Heisman Trophy winner and the Oklahoma Sooners suffered a humbling, if not humiliating, loss to the Georgia Bulldogs in the first semifinal college championship game at the Rose Bowl last night.

Baker Mayfield was supposed to win. Oklahoma was supposed to come out on top and beat and best Georgia just because.   Mayfield got out to a hot start, but succumbed to Georgia at the bitter end of a classic, come from behind thriller for the “Dawgs”, 54-48 in Double Overtime.

Baker Mayfield is a brash and brazen, braggadocios boy who has a lot of growing up to do. His antics and outbursts all season have earned him a well-deserved reputation and at one point lost him his captainship and almost his career. Earlier this year, he was arrested on a public intoxication and fleeing the scene charge and ordered to undergo 35 hours of community service. And there were other incidents which may have cost other players their scholarships, or more. And during last night’s game, after every early score, Mayfield would run full steam from the end zone with his arms outstretched as if he was soaring above and beyond Georgia’s reach. But not so fast.

Here’s how Sports Illustrated described his behavior: “Mayfield has been known for the emotion he displays during games but avoided controversy during his college finale. When asked about an apparent throat-slashing gesture after the game, he said it wasn’t directed at the Bulldogs. ‘When you get up on a team, you talk about stepping on their throats,’ he said. ‘Obviously, we didn’t do that.’

 As Oklahoma’s frenetic star wandered back onto the playing field to congratulate celebrating Bulldog players, Georgia linebacker Davin Bellamy began screaming at him.


Bellamy stood near the spot on the field where the Heisman Trophy winner had aimed his wild, arms-flailing sprints back to the bench after each Oklahoma touchdown earlier in the day, when the Sooners scored on five of their first six possessions and looked like they were about to blow the Bulldogs out of the Rose Bowl. Instead, Georgia outscored Oklahoma 37–17 after halftime.” was a great game but also a sad commentary on how not to lose. Baker Mayfield couldn’t finish and seal the deal against a Georgia team that didn’t know the word quit. Down 17 just before the half, Oklahoma inexpiably squib kicked after a field goal and allowed Georgia to run one play to get into position for a long field goal. And they made it, cutting the lead to 14.  Then and there,  I said Oklahoma was going to lose and Georgia was going win. Why? Because of Oklahoma’s arrogance. They  thought they were too far ahead for Georgia to catch up and assumed that Mayfield would continue to throw touchdown pass after touchdown pass the entire second half. But it wasn’t meant to be.

The lesson Baker Mayfield hopefully learns is that pride still goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. So let’s let this be a lesson and let’s do what Mayfield didn’t.

Humble yourself.

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

March Madness: ALWAYS Have a Plan “B” (Oklahoma!)

hield-buddyBuddy Hield averages 29 points a game. He single handedly carried his team on his back through their bracket en route to the Final Four in Houston. And Oklahoma was supposed to give Villanova a run, or at least a game, IF Buddy and his buddies could hit their three pointers. Not! It didn’t happen. In fact, the unthinkable happened; Oklahoma got blown out of the gym, losing 95-51. Unbelievable.

The Sooners didn’t just lose, they were creamed and crushed, slaughtered and massacred, trounced and pounced right out of the Final Four. It was their worst loss of the season and the worst margin of defeat in Final Four history. Hield, who won several national player of the year awards, finished with nine points. Nine points. He came into the game shooting 46.5 percent from 3-point range, but finished 4 for 12 from the field, including 1 of 8 from beyond the arc.

Hield, who became the Big 12’s all-time leading scorer in the game, said Villanova was ”one of the best teams I’ve ever played in college.” Hield had more to say: ”Just credit them for what they were doing. They made it tough on me throwing multiple bodies at me,” said Hield, who had six points against West Virginia, the only other time this season he was held below 10 points. ”They just played terrific tonight.”

So, for Villanova, they had a game plan. Several Wildcats get credit for their great defense against Hield, as Nova used multiple players to chase Hield all over the court. They limited his shots by not allowing much separation when he didn’t have the ball and smothered him even more when he did. ”We were just loading into him,” Mikal Bridges said. ”We just tried our best to limit his touches and load to him when he had the ball.”

So, since the Oklahoma Plan “A” did not work, what was the backup plan? What was their Plan “B?” There wasn’t one. That’s right; they had NO contingency plan. No options for unlikely exigencies or unforeseen eventualities. What if Buddy had a bad game? What if the team had a cold shooting night? What if Oklahoma couldn’t make a shot or buy a basket and Villanova couldn’t miss? You guessed it? That’s exactly what happened.

My dad taught me to “plan for the worst and hope for the best.” He taught me that everything won’t go your way. And anything can happen. Nothing is for certain. At least not in sports. And in life, life happens. So you need to plan for what might happen. And that’s why you need more margins in your life. You need margins on your term paper and margin in your bank account and margin in your commute to work and margin in your marriage. You just do.

So here’s to Villanova and North Carolina; they play in the National Championship game tonight. So each team certainly has a game, plan. Let’s just hope that if each team’s Plan “A” doesn’t work, that they have a Plan “B” in their hip pocket.

I Can’t Believe I Missed The Big Game!?


Last night I missed the big game. I mean I missed The Game! No. 1 Kansas played No. 2 Oklahoma in one of the biggest mid-season matchups in memory. And I missed it! And to top it all off, the game went to triple – I said TRIPLE OVERTIME! What was I thinking? 

It’s difficult, by definition, for a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown to exceed expectations. But Oklahoma-Kansas somehow did it Monday night. I mean it really, really did it. Did I mention that it took three — three! — overtimes to settle things! In end, which I missed because I went to bed (Slacker!), the Jayhawks held on to beat the Sooners. Final: No. 1 Kansas 109, No. 2 Oklahoma 106.

Wait! What?!

“Toughest game I’ve ever played in,” said Kansas senior Perry Ellis, who finished with 27 points and 13 rebounds and still wasn’t even close to being the star of the game.  That’s because Buddy Hield was.

The Oklahoma senior took 23 shots, made 13 and finished with a career-high 46 points while making a strong case that he should be the leading candidate for National Player of the Year. This was Hield’s fifth 30-point game this season, and his fourth in OU’s past seven contests. And yet it might forever be bittersweet in his mind, and for three reasons.

Hield turned the ball over with 8.6 seconds left in the third OT.  Hield missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that, if good, would’ve forced a fourth OT.  And, of course, Oklahoma lost.

Still, what a game — for Hield, for Ellis and for college basketball in general.

You like comebacks?

There were plenty. And what’ll be forgotten by most, because of the three overtime periods, is that both teams actually held double-digit leads in regulation. Kansas led 32-21 in the first half. Then Oklahoma led 54-44 in the second half.

Still, the game was somehow tied at the end of regulation. And tied at the end of one overtime. And tied again at the end of a second overtime, at which point it became only the second No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown in college basketball history to ever reach three OTs.

In sports and in life, there will be missis and miscues, bloops and blunders, errors and errata. But don’t lose hope. There will be another big game, another big matchup and another big showdown. Don’t beat yourself up and don’t beat yourself down. Take it from me. I was tired last night, and I still overslept this morning! So, don’t lose heart because I won’t lose sleep. While you can’t win’ em all, you can still try, try, try again.