The Cincinnati Bengals are facing a backlash over their decision to draft running back Joe Mixon, who punched a woman in the face while at Oklahoma.
Cincinnati added to its reputation for embracing players with troubled histories when they took Mixon in the second round on Friday night. Even before Mixon arrived in town, the choice was getting panned.
WCPO-TV posted an editorial on Saturday saying the club had gone too far this time. The editorial urged fans to stop buying Bengals tickets and instead donate the money to organizations that work to prevent violence against women.
Bengals owner Mike Brown has a fondness for trying to rehabilitate players with off-field problems. The club signed linebacker Vontaze Burfict after every team passed on him in the 2012 draft, and he wound up suspended by the NFL for illegal hits. Cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones was arrested again this offseason on misdemeanor charges including assault for a confrontation at a downtown hotel.
The local television station’s editorial said that it was “disgraceful” to draft Mixon, who also was suspended for a game last season over a confrontation with a parking attendant
“Enough is enough, Bengals,” the editorial said. “We can excuse another season without winning a playoff game. We can’t excuse drafting a player like Joe Mixon.”
The Bengals planned to make Mixon available to the media when he arrived in town on Saturday, but said it would be the only chance to ask him about his past. Future interviews will be restricted by the club to football-related questions, part of the club’s efforts to take the focus off Mixon’s past conduct.
“He gets an opportunity to move forward and write his script from there on,” coach Marvin Lewis said on Friday night.