Bengals owner explains drafting Joe Mixon in letter
Bengals owner Mike Brown offered an explanation for why Cincinnati decided to take a chance on running back Joe Mixon in a letter published by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Brown called Mixon “very talented football player who did a terrible thing his freshman year at college,” in reference to Mixon striking a woman and breaking bones in her face while playing at Oklahoma.
The letter runs through Mixon’s history, and says he was a “good citizen” following the incident and dealt with the consequences, also noting that Mixon and the woman, Amelia Molitor, recently settled their civil lawsuit in person. “While the circumstances that led up to the incident are unclear – what is clear is that it is unacceptable for a man to strike a woman.”
“The Bengals take pride in our hometown and want to provide winning football on the field and successful players off the field. That is the reason we drafted Joe – he is a rare football talent, and his conduct over the past three years leads us to believe he can help us win football games and also become a productive member of this community,” Brown wrote.
“In making our decision, we took a risk. In this case, the risk has an upside as well as a downside. We believe Joe has put this behind him and that he can turn into the player and community member that creates a plus for Cincinnati. We are going to do everything in our power to make this happen. Our hope is that time will prove that this opportunity is deserved, and perhaps – if given a chance – Joe can write a chapter in Cincinnati sports history that both he and Cincinnati can be proud of.”
Cincinnati’s selection of Mixon with the 48th pick in the draft was controversial given the questions attached to his character and conduct. Brown's letter came in wake of a local advocacy group asking the Bengals to publicly take a stand against domestic violence and sexual assault.
"This is definitely going to be attached to my name the rest of my life and the end of the day I'm going to do whatever I can to move forward and move past it," Mixon told NFL Network last week. "Just keep playing and I look forward to having a great career [in Cincinnati] and being the best teammate and person possible."