Less than a week before the start of the 2017 NFL draft, Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon has settled a civil lawsuit with the woman he punched back in August 2014.
A videotape showed Mixon hitting Amelia Molitor, another student at the school (who also goes by “Mia”), after the two had exchanged words. The criminal charges in the case have been settled for months now, but we can also close the book on the civil case. Terms of the settlement were not released, per Pro Football Talk.
Both parties issued a statement together — and spoke about the issue in person. Each said they wished they handled things differently on that fateful day.
“I am happy we were able to bring the lawsuit to an end,” Molitor said. “Joe and I were able to meet privately, without any attorneys, and talk about our experiences since that night. I am encouraged that we will both be able to move forward from here with our lives.
“From our private discussions I am satisfied that we are going to put this behind us and work towards helping others who may have found themselves in similar circumstances. I greatly appreciate his apology and I think the feelings he expressed were sincere. We both could have handled things differently. I believe if we had a chance to go back to that moment in time, the situation would not have ended the way it did.”
Added Mixon: “I’m thankful Mia and I were able to talk privately. I was able to apologize to her one-to-one. The way I reacted that night, that’s not me. That’s not the way I was raised. I think she understands that. Talking together helps move us past what happened.
“I know I have to keep working to be a better person, and this is another step in that direction. I love working with kids, and I’m looking for more chances to do that kind of work. I want to lead a life that inspires them, and I hope I can lead by example from today forward.”
It’s easy to be suspicious of the timing — right before 32 teams must consider if or when to use a valuable draft pick on a player with a history of concerning behavior — but it’s encouraging to hear the words from both parties. The hope, obviously, is that they both mean them and that Mixon indeed is focused on making the best from a bad mistake more than two years ago.
“I’m finished talking about what happened that night with Joe,” Molitor said. “It’s time to move on from that. I wish Joe the best of luck in his future.”
Mixon is a talented running back who could be an NFL star if he can move past this situation and not have any further incidents. He became a star after the team suspended him for the entire 2014 season, rushing for 1,274 yards this past season with 16 touchdowns, setting the school mark for all-purpose yards in a single season.
But teams are still leery to spend a high-round draft pick on a player with Mixon’s off-field history, and — more important in NFL evaluators’ eyes — especially if they have lingering questions about whether he’s capable of something like this in the future. Mixon was not invited to the NFL scouting combine, and multiple teams reportedly have removed him from draft consideration, including the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.
This settlement or the words within do not ensure anything in the future, and this likely won’t have much effect on his draft status; teams that were considering him before almost certainly still are now. On the flip side, this probably won’t have a dramatic improvement to Mixon’s image after a few years of being ripped as a woman-beater, although Molitor’s words — even if they only came out after a settlement was in place — can’t hurt.
– – – – – – –
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Tim Brown: Giants ace’s legend of invincibility hits the skids
• Patriots player writes note to Obama after visit with President Trump
• Clippers star suffers yet another season-ending injury
• Adrian Wojnarowski: What’s so special about Westbrook and the Thunder?