Mixon fumbles; Knight and Darlington shine
By Kyle Salomon,
As I was sitting in my office earlier this week, I learned something about myself that I did not particularly like.
I found myself checking up at least once every hour on the recent story of OU running back Joe Mixon and his alleged assault of University of Oklahoma female student Amelia Rae Monitor last Friday morning at Pickleman’s restaurant, a sandwich shop on Campus Corner just outside of the OU campus.
The story is still under investigation by the Norman Police Department, but witnesses and videos say and show Mixon and his friends got into a verbal altercation with Monitor and her friends. There are conflicting reports that say Monitor struck Mixon across the face and then Mixon retaliated by striking Monitor and breaking numerous bones in her face.
The other report says Mixon and Monitor engaged in a heated verbal confrontation and Mixon struck her in the face with Monitor not assaulting Mixon first at all.
The fact of the matter is it doesn’t matter which report is accurate. It is never OK for a man to strike a woman in any way regardless if the woman strikes the man first.
The incident happened at 2:40 a.m. on Friday morning, which begs the question, why were they out at that time, especially with Mixon being merely 18 years of age?
What I found out about myself that I was not impressed with, was me sitting there getting angry about the possibility of OU losing one of its best recruits in the program’s rich history.
Mixon was rated as the No. 1 running back in the nation coming out of high school last year and when the Sooners coaching staff pulled off the minor miracle and convinced the California native to sign with Oklahoma, OU fans all over the world started having thoughts of the next Adrian Peterson entering Memorial Stadium.
I was angered because it seems like every year, OU football has to deal with situations where a key player or players either suffer season-ending injuries or has trouble with the law and is removed from the team or suspended for a long period of time.
The bottom line is I thought I was better than that. I would talk constantly about how ridiculous certain Oklahoma fans can be in these types of situations and how they think about nothing other than the football aspect and how it will affect their beloved Sooners on the field that coming year.
I proved to myself I was not better than that, and that is something I desperately need to improve about myself in the very near future.
All you saw on Twitter and Facebook over the weekend were comments from people saying horrible things about Monitor, Mixon, OU football or women in general. News publications from newspapers, websites, radio talk shows and television news and sportscasts dedicated most of their space and time to the Mixon story.
It was truly an example of how negative this world and especially the media universe can be.
However, I came across a story earlier this week that is both tragic and uplifting at the same time.
OU cheerleader Taylor Witcher was killed in an automobile accident on Monday and five others are still in serious condition. That is the part of the story that is incredibly tragic and sad. The part of the story that will bring happiness to your heart is what OU football players Trevor Knight and Ty Darlington did in response to the horrific news.
Knight is the starting quarterback for the Sooners and is very much a public figure in the entire state of Oklahoma, and Darlington is a starting offensive lineman for the crimson and cream.
Both OU football players led a prayer vigil on the South Oval on the University of Oklahoma campus, which had hundreds of people show up and participate in the gathering. Knight and Darlington didn’t know Witcher or anybody else involved in the fatal accident, but that didn’t matter to them. They used their pedestal for something good, and not something negative like so many others in their shoes.
Knight and Darlington are two famous major college athletes who went against the grain and didn’t fall in love with themselves because they can throw the football a long way or can run faster than most human beings on this earth. They chose to be a good example to others. They chose to be role models because they know they are.
After doing more digging into the two Sooner football stars, I found out they lead a weekly prayer group on the South Oval. They started it in June and it has been growing ever since. It took a tragic accident like the one that happened on Monday for this to be a story.
How sad is that for the media?
I know negativity sells, but maybe, just maybe if the media would take a stand and tell positive stories like the Knight and Darlington prayer group story, positivity would begin to sell as well.
I know for me, it has changed the way I look at my profession and my job. Yes, the Mixon story has to be told, but the Knight and Darlington story should be showcased.
Kyle Salomon is the sports editor for the Mustang News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.