CINCINNATI (CBS Sports) – The most controversial player in the NFL Draft is already causing controversy in Cincinnati.
The ABC affiliate in the city, which could potentially be airing an NFL wild-card playoff game this season, is calling for a boycott of the Bengals following the team’s selection of Joe Mixon of the NFL Draft on Friday.
“Enough is enough, Bengals. We can excuse another season without winning a playoff game. We can’t excuse drafting a player like Joe Mixon,” the station wrote in an editorial. “Instead of buying a Bengals ticket this year, take the $50 or more you would have spent on that ticket and donate the money to a nonprofit that works to prevent violence against women.”
As for Mixon, he sounded thankful that there was a team out there that was willing to take a risk on him.
As likely the most controversial player in the NFL Draft — Mixon was shown punching a woman in the face on a 2014 security video — the former Oklahoma running back had no idea when he was going to be drafted this week, so when the call finally came from the Bengals, he got emotional.
“You know, I am still sitting here crying. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe it,” Mixon said in a conference call, via ESPN.com. “You know, I am thankful and very honored to be a part of — to be a Cincinnati Bengal.”
Mixon was viewed as such a risk in the drafttook him off their draft board. Fortunately for Mixon, the Bengals weren’t one of those teams.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has seen the video, which shows Mixon throwing a punch that left Ameila Molitor with several fractured bones in her face, and he’s not trying to downplay what happened.
“I don’t know who isn’t disgusted with what they saw,” Lewis said on Friday.
The Bengals coach then added that it’s time for Mixon to “move forward.”
“That’s one day in a young man’s life, and he’s had to live that since then and he will continue to have to live that, and he gets an opportunity to move forward and write his script from then on,” Lewis said. “It’s come to a conclusion with the young lady. They’ve come to their statements, her statement about how they both could’ve handled the day better. But again, that doesn’t change it.”
Mixon and Molitor reached a civil settlement in the case on April 21, although terms weren’t disclosed. For Mixon, he says the entire incident changed him.
“It changed me a lot as a person, the way you think, the way you carry yourself, go about things,” Mixon said. “I’m going to continue to keep doing the right thing around the community, on and off the field. And I’m going to prove to them why they kept me. Leaving from Oklahoma, I still have their name, at the end of the day. I’m going to do whatever I can to make them proud and make them happy. I’m looking forward to doing that with the Cincinnati Bengals as well.”
For the Bengals, who have a well-known reputation for taking a chance on players who other teams might consider a character risk, Lewis says there wasn’t really any risk with the pick because the team did its homework on Mixon.
“Joe’s situation kind of came to a settlement in all ways this week, which also led us to feel better about the opportunity here and to move forward,” Lewis said. “We’ve done all of our due diligence we can do, time spent interviewing people, everybody around him, everybody around his background, people that have coached at Oklahoma for insight regarding him and how he has carried himself since that day.”
Although many fans will be able to accept Mixon, the pick could end up backfiring if the former Oklahoma running back gets into any trouble while he’s in Cincinnati.