The Cincinnati Bengals recently signed running back Joe Mixon, a former Oklahoma standout. While attending college, Mixon created much controversy after punching a woman in the face and breaking her jaw. The disturbing act was caught on video and went viral. Social media sources and Bengals fans came out of the woodwork to criticize Mixon or any team that might sign him.
The Cincinnati Bengals eventually drafted Mixon in the second round of the latest NFL draft. The decisions wasn’t popular among fans. Bengals fans began claiming they would stop following the club. Fan social media comments are almost laughable because they know they will continue watching and showing up for games. Let’s face it, fans are fickle. If Mixon scores touchdowns and rushes for over 1,000 yards, the same critical fans will eventually buy a Joe Mixon jersey.
I have seen the video and found it disturbing. However, the woman in the video attacked Mixon. Had that been a man who had attacked Mixon, fans would have said Mixon had simply defended himself. I would like to think I would have avoided a confrontation with the woman. But it can be hard to say unless I were in Mixon’s position. Unfortunately, violence is often countered with move violence, which is why so many Americans are sitting in prison.
Although I am not a Bengals fan, I support the Bengals decision. Besides, it has been three years since Mixon’s incident and he has since made amends with the young woman. And since he didn’t go to prison for committing a crime against her, he isn’t in any legal trouble over the incident. Therefore, Mixon is a free man and has a right to earn a living.
I have even heard fans compare Mixon to Ray Rice, who was a star running back with the Baltimore Ravens until a video surfaced of him punching his fiancé (current wife) in the face. Rice punched her so hard he knocked her unconscious. He then dragged her from an elevator as if she were garbage. After the Ravens released him, no one else signed him. The Rice incident was handled differently by authorities. Rice was charged as a criminal and was a current player when the incident occurred while Mixon’s incident occurred while he was still in college. Authorities handled both situations differently.
And then you have Michael Vick, who served time for his role in fighting dogs. I can remember the backlash the Philadelphia Eagles received for signing Vick. So here are three examples of professional athletes committing disturbing acts against women and dogs. I have read countless social media posts about these three men and listened to sports talk radio dispel hate about these men. The common belief is that none of these men deserve to play in the NFL because they lack morals.
So back to Mixon and the fans who hated the signing. Does anyone think the Bengals have a moral obligation to deny Mixon a job? Since when did any professional sports team become responsible for employee morals? Sorry, but if you want morals, then you should find religion. People forget the Bengals and other professional sports teams are NFL franchises. As with Burger King or any other franchise, they are in business to make money. Sure, the cliché is tired, but just as real.
Does your local fast food restaurant or gas station worry about hiring someone who spent time in prison? Would your own employer fire you if they knew you had been arrested for shoplifting? Whether it be professional sports or a local burger joint, these businesses need employees to sell their products and to service customers. If a potential employee can benefit a business and isn’t sitting in a prison cell, then he or she is available for employment.
Joe Mixon needs a job. The Bengals are in need of a football player who can carry the rock, score touchdowns and help his teammates win NFL games. The two parties met and agreed to a contract. Business is conducted daily under these circumstances all over the world. The NFL is just another business trying to generate enormous revenues. A professional sports team can scrutinize a player’s past if they so choose, but each team has a right to choose who they hire.
Marc is a grandparent and longtime resident of Clermont County. Visit his author page Life with Grandpa and he also just wrote Just Bite Me: A Guide to Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Walking Nightmares, which is available on Amazon.com.