University of Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon has issued an apology for the 2014 altercation that sent a fellow OU student to the hospital with broken bones in her face.
Mixon emailed a 443-word statement Tuesday concerning the highly publicized interaction with Amelia Molitor that resulted in his one-year suspension from football and her lawsuit against him. About 24 hours earlier, a U.S. district court judge dismissed two-thirds of the suit. A final third of the suit, claiming intentional infliction of emotional distress, remains pending.
Mixon’s statement came in PDF form from a personal email address.
“For the last two years, my lawyers have advised me against speaking publicly about an incident that occurred very shortly after I arrived in Norman, Oklahoma,” he wrote. “Today, I want to say what everyone deserves to hear from me about this matter: I am sorry.”
The Mixon apology marks his first public comment on his altercation from two summers ago. Sports commentators, such as the Tulsa World’s John Hoover, have previously criticized the running back for not saying “I’m sorry.”
Each of the statement’s first three paragraphs ended with those words. The remainder of the statement appears here:
On the night of July 24, 2014, I had just turned 18 years old. I was away from home for the first time and far from comfortable in my new surroundings, which were different from my hometown. That night, I was out with members of the football team, trying to get to know my new teammates and friends. I was not drinking; I have never had a drink in my life. At the end of the night, a group of apparently drunk people started harassing us. Some of my teammates were wise enough to leave. I did not, and I am sorry.
The situation got tense. Racial slurs were hurled at me. I should have left, but I did not. A woman shoved me. I was upset and I should have left, but I did not. Then, she slapped me, and I reacted poorly—I struck her. It was a bad reaction, one that does not reflect my character or my values. I am sorry.
I apologize to Amelia Molitor and the friends who were with her that night. I apologize to my teammates, coaches, the University of Oklahoma, and its fans. I apologize to my family and friends. I realize I let a lot of people down. I apologize to all those I disappointed or hurt.
I understand why my reaction that night, and in a more recent incident on campus, might give people the impression that I am an angry person. But I do not see myself that way, and I do not want others to. I believe that, over time, I can prove that my past mistakes do not represent who I really am. I promise everyone willing to give me the chance that I will work harder and continue to better myself as an individual and community member. I want to be a role model on and off the field.
I hope everyone understands I am a college student and a member of the Oklahoma Sooner football team. I do not want my school or my team to be further distracted. For that reason, I do not intend to comment anymore on this matter. I will not respond to media inquiries about anything other than Sooner football. I ask that all legal questions be directed to my lawyers. I want to focus on being my best as a teammate, student, and member of my community.
Mixon apology the latest in ongoing saga
In October 2014, Mixon entered an Alford plea for a misdemeanor charge stemming from the incident. He received a one-year deferred sentence and 100 hours of community service.
In July of this year, Molitor’s attorneys filed a lawsuit against Mixon for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court of Northern California, which encompasses where Mixon grew up.
In October, a judge granted Mixon’s defense team’s request to change the lawsuit’s venue from California to Oklahoma.
Then, earlier this month, Mixon was suspended for OU’s game against Iowa State after an interaction with a university parking attendant. The parking attendant filed a report with campus police in which she claimed Mixon tore up the citation and threw it at her, the pieces of paper hitting her in the face. Her parking report said Mixon swore at her and attempted to intimidate her with his vehicle.
Mixon’s attorney, Blake Johnson with the OKC-based firm Crowe & Dunlevy, characterized the parking attendant’s account of the story as “wholly unsubstantiated and contradicted by eyewitness testimony.”
Mixon’s emailed statement references that incident as well.
Tuesday’s Joe Mixon apology comes more than a week before OU plays OSU for Bedlam and the Big 12 title.
(Editor’s Note: One of Joe Mixon’s co-counselors, Cullen Sweeney, authored a commentary for NonDoc in February regarding Oklahoma’s Judicial Nominating Commission.)