Two and a half years ago, an incoming freshman at the University of Oklahoma went into a popular restaurant/bar on his 18th birthday. Joe Mixon was a very highly recruited running back and was considered by many to be the best in the country at the position. He (now) stands approximately 6’1" and weighs 226 pounds according to the OU athletic department website.
The tldr version: He broke a woman’s face.
The long version: According to Mixon, Amelia Molitor hurled racist insults at Mixon and spat on him. According to Molitor, Mixon called her friend a fag. At any rate, Mixon went over to Molitor’s table where there is a very brief discussion and Molitor pushes Mixon. Mixon makes an aggressive “bowing up” move but backs off slightly. Molitor then slaps Mixon and lands her slap somewhere around Mixon’s neck/face area. Mixon responds with a devastating right hook to Molitor’s face which causes her to hit her head on the table as she falls. You can see the graphic video here. I have tried to describe it as faithfully as I could although I welcome corrections/differences of opinion. Molitor suffered several fractures to her face although I don’t know if they were the direct result of the punch or were caused by her head striking the table. I assume that it doesn’t really matter.
OU President David Boren (a former US Senator and governor of Oklahoma), athletic director Joe Castiglione and head football coach Bob Stoops all watched the video and determined that Mixon’s punishment from the university would consist of a one year suspension from the team. He was not allowed to practice or work out with the team. He had some academic restrictions placed on him as well although I don’t believe that they were made public.
The city of Norman charged Mixon with misdemeanor assault to which he entered an Alford plea. On the advice of his attorneys, Mixon has said very little publicly about the incident. He has apologized to Molitor through his attorneys. Molitor is suing for “negligence, willful and wanton misconduct, and intentional infliction of emotional distress” (from wiki).
The debate (finally):
Were the actions of the University of Oklahoma sufficient?
There is currently a large amount of outrage about the incident because the tape was only released to the public last week. Everyone that has followed the case over the last 2 years had heard that “it was bad”. To be honest, it looked about like I expected it to. He’s a large man and she’s a smallish woman. Given that she had broken bones to her face, I expected it to be a devastating punch. It was.
Much of the outrage comes from a contingent that says that “You never hit women”. Period. To paraphrase Chris Rock, I would NEVER hit a woman but I understand. Just because I would personally choose to never hit a woman doesn’t imply that hitting a woman is NEVER justified. IMHO, Mixon could have and should have walked away after getting slapped but that’s just MHO. I don’t believe that we as a society want to teach women that they get free slaps at men. I don’t want men to slap women either.
Some have argued that Mixon’s punch was disproportionate to the actions of Molitor. IOW, he brought a gun to a knife fight. I disagree. Given that Mixon had no obligation to walk away (although IMHO he should have), the altercation was going to escalate to the same point regardless. It is difficult to watch the video and believe that if Mixon had simply slapped Molitor back (a “proportionate” response), that that would have been the end of it. I believe, although it is obviously unknowable, that Molitor would have continued to escalate the altercation and sooner or later, punches were going to be thrown.
Given the above, I feel that the actions of OU were appropriate. Discuss.