It seems everyone wants to talk about Joe Mixon’s past, instead of looking forward to his future with the Cincinnati Bengals. But, shying away from the negativity surrounding the situation, one former NFL star is offering some verbal support for Mixon. Michael Vick committed his fair share of transgressions during his pro career and has some advice for the Bengals running back.
Vick by no means defended what Mixon did, but he did say the incident has, at the very least, likely humbled Mixon.
"Joe's a young, man, and he made a mistake," Vick told NJ.com. "Let's be honest, you rarely see guys having encounters like that. It should never happen. I would never condone it. I don't think it's right at all. But in terms of his football career, if he could go back and think about it before he actually made that gesture towards that girl, he wouldn't have done it. Not if he knew what he would be dealing with now... I think he has learned from it. Hopefully, he's humbled by what happened to him."
Vick offered some advice to Mixon as he begins his NFL journey: Don’t waste the opportunity you’ve been given.
"Kids can use this as an example," Vick said. "Joe got an opportunity because he's an exceptional talent. Others don't get that opportunity."
Mixon still has a long way to go before he’s known simply as a football player and not as the man who knocked a girl unconscious and broke several bones in her face. Even though the incident happened in 2014, it’s still horrific and most people think of it immediately when they hear or see Mixon.
He has already completed one year of probation, 100 hours of community service and behavioral counseling as part of a plea agreement to a misdemeanor assault charge. Additionally, the week prior to the draft, a settlement was reached in the civil lawsuit filed against Mixon, though the terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Even with all of this, Mixon is still only in the early stages of his road to redemption. It’s up to him to stay on this path so he gets to a point one day where he’s not defined by his past. It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight, but Mixon can move past it over time. The Bengals certainly believe he can get there, or else they wouldn’t have spent a top-50 draft pick on him.