Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon foolishly posted two tweets Wednesday, both of which were deleted within an hour.
Mixon was suspended last season after agreeing to a plea deal on a misdemeanor count of an act resulting in gross injury when he punched 20-year-old female student Amelia Rae Molitor at Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe on Campus Corner in Norman.
Rather than go to trial, Mixon agreed to a one-year deferred sentence, 100 hours of community service and mandatory counseling.
Mixon has yet to play a down for the Sooners. The five-star redshirt freshman tailback remained an OU student on financial aid last fall, was reinstated to the team in February in time for spring practice, but was not allowed to play in the Spring Game.
The incident happened one year ago tomorrow (Friday), which was Mixon’s 18th birthday.
With Wednesday’s tweets, Mixon simply wanted his followers to know he is motivated to play this season, but his delivery portrayed himself as a victim annoyed by all the “haters.”
If Mixon thinks he has haters now, wait for the public reaction if the surveillance videotape of the incident ever goes public.
In all of college football, the last person who should be tweeting is Mixon, who instead should be doing everything possible to maintain a low profile.
Somebody needs to tackle Mixon and delete his Twitter account, but it can’t be anyone in the school’s athletic department.
OU’s compliance department monitors social media of student-athletes “as best we can, but not minute-by-minute for each one,” athletic director Joe Castiglione explained in an e-mail Thursday morning. “Generally speaking, unless they come to us first, it’s hard to catch something before it goes out. Actually, some do check, but with nearly 600 student athletes, it’s tough.”
Castiglione added that Mixon’s tweets have “been addressed and will continue to be addressed.”
Schools must be sensitive to a student’s First Amendment rights. “At one time (years ago),” Castiglione wrote, “we considered imposing a ban on all social media for student-athletes, but after consulting experts, we were advised of the significant legal implications of such a move.”
Mixon posted the tweets the same day OU coach Bob Stoops continually defended his decision to keep Mixon on the team while appearing on various programs at ESPN studios. Stoops also reiterated Mixon continues to meet the necessary requirements for him to remain with the team.
One day earlier during Big 12 Media Days at the Omni Dallas Hotel, Stoops and several of his players spoke glowingly of Mixon.
“People get behind a phone and behind a computer and can say really whatever they want,” OU junior quarterback Trevor Knight said. “So you see it every once in a while, and you just got to brush it off. He’s done his time. … We all make mistakes, and he realizes he made a huge one, but he’s ready to get on the football field and start his career.”