In case you missed it, a firestorm broke out late Monday night on social media during the Sugar Bowl. It wasn’t a particularly controversial play, nor was it a blown call by an official that sparked the outrage. It was Brent Musburger and poor judgement. Musburger decided to step outside his analyst role, and gave his opinion on Joe Mixon of Oklahoma.
Mixon, as you may recall, was caught on tape punching a woman in the face resulting in multiple fractures. Oklahoma’s “punishment” for Mixon was to suspend him for the 2014 season, though he was given a redshirt and didn’t lose any eligibility. The legal system didn’t do much more, sentencing Mixon to 1 year probation and 100 hours of community service in a plea bargain deal. That Mixon barely got a slap on the wrist angered more than a few people. The perception was he was given special treatment by everyone involved because he was a talented football player.
Here is a replay of Brent’s words that set off the storm last night:
I rewound this to make sure I wasn't being too tough on Brent. Nope. It's even worse the second time. This is embarrassing. pic.twitter.com/QAoikxck9G
— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) January 3, 2017
And some of the reactions:
How screwed up are we as a society to be more worried about Mixon's ability to focus on the GAME OF FOOTBALL THAN THE GIRL'S FACE HE BROKE?
— Ky Reds Gal (@KyRedsGal) January 3, 2017
#BrentMusburger did a fine job explaining exactly how he feels about women beaters. He totally supports them & now we all are clear on that.
— DJ Lee (@DjLeeTTU) January 3, 2017
That was bad enough, but Brent apparently was made aware of the thrashing he was receiving on Twitter and he responded:
— Greg Rajan (@GregRajan) January 3, 2017
I was stunned. I tried to give Musburger the benefit of the doubt after his first set of comments, but his follow-up was absolutely infuriating. Clearly, Musburger was far more upset over the tweets directed at him than he was about Mixon crushing that young lady’s face. It was no surprise that the anger directed at Musburger escalated quickly.
But some people suggested our outrage was misplaced:
Here's an idea: Instead of being mad at Brent Musberger, why not get upset at the legal system that allowed Joe Mixon to serve no jail time?
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) January 3, 2017
While I greatly respect Aaron and partially agree with his statement, I don’t think the two concepts have to be mutually exclusive. There should be outrage at the legal system and at Musburger. There should also be outrage at the administration and coaching staff at Oklahoma. All parties failed miserably in this situation, and the message they sent was clear: if you are a very good football player, you can do whatever you want without major consequence.
Brent’s argument that “I’m all about second chances” might hold water with some folks, but the fact Musburger never mentioned the young woman, nor if she was “doing well” after the assault was irresponsible and reprehensible.
Shame on you, Oklahoma for not taking Mixon’s brutality seriously enough to immediately remove him from your football program. Shame on you, OU administrators for allowing Mixon to remain on your campus. Do you think this makes your female students feel safe or respected? Shame on the legal system that allowed a plea deal that resulted in no jail time for this offense.
Shame on you, Joe Mixon for your inability to just walk away in that situation. According to reports, there had been verbal altercations at another location prior to the assault. The young woman left the site of the verbal altercation and you followed her. Had you not done so, then perhaps things never would have escalated to the point that she shoved and slapped you. Even then, a real man would walk away. You’ve since apologized for what you did, and that’s all fine and well. But that does not prove you have changed or learned from this incident (your teammates “fake punching” each other on the sidelines during the Orange Bowl suggests you, and they, haven’t learned as much as you claim.)
And yes, shame on you, Brent Musburger. How dare you trivialize Mixon’s actions and focus instead on his potential NFL career? Why should your comments cause such a firestorm? Because you, Mr. Musburger, had a public platform not available to most of us, and you chose to defend the indefensible. You chose to champion the cause of the one who committed the crime, and ignore the victim. Until we all understand that violence against women is not okay, regardless of your athletic abilities, there will be more Joe Mixons and more apologists that will condone this behavior.
And that is not okay. Not now, and not ever.
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