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Stoops Says He Would Boot Mixon in 2016 Which Is As Weak As It Gets

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I watched the Bob Stoops press conference on Wednesday afternoon. I shouldn’t have. It was my son’s birthday and my wife was trying to go on a family walk and the house was a mess. It was time for me to be off work, but I couldn’t help myself. This entire Joe Mixon episode has enthralled me.

Mostly because I think Stoops, who has been a pillar for nearly two decades in Oklahoma and is someone I think is a great coach and an underrated person, is cracking.

I wrote about this on Wednesday, but then Stoops proved the point once again in his press conference when he was asked about whether he would make the same decision in 2016 if one of his players punched a woman. Here is what he said.

“That’s the way that things have gone in the last 2.5 years in that really the only thing that’s ever acceptable anymore is dismissal,” Stoops said. “We didn’t go that route 2.5 years ago. Again, thought this man deserved an opportunity moving forward to have a chance to redeem himself and grow out of it and to be positive out in the community and that was the intention. If I’m at fault of something, it’s hard to give up on these young men that I go into their homes and talk about the opportunities to grow here at Oklahoma.”

Not all heroes wear capes, right?

Then he was asked if he would reach a different conclusion in 2016.

“I think that is fair to say,” Stoops said. “Because, yes. I do believe I would.

“Again, now as things 2.5 years later, dismissal’s really the only thing that’s possible. And a young guy having an opportunity to rehabilitation and have some kind of discipline and come back from it is really not there anymore. [Violence towards women] has never has been acceptable. What I’m saying is there’s no recovering from these incidents anymore. It really has been [a zero-tolerance policy]. That’s how we’ve been operating.”

This is such a weak position to take. Our Daily Bears summed it up best on Twitter.

This is effectively what Stoops is saying. Again, I don’t have a huge issue with Stoops keeping Mixon at OU. I think it was the wrong decision, but I at least understand where he was coming from. But don’t stand up there and act like, “welp, the society we live in determines what’s right and wrong for our program these days … it’s out of my hands.”

That’s garbage, and everybody knows it. Either stand behind your guy or don’t. I don’t really care. I would have more respect for Stoops if he said, you know what, we live in a mob-mentality culture, and I don’t like that. I stood behind Joe Mixon in 2014, and I would do it again in 2016, social media be damned. This is about football, but it’s also about life. This is our guy. I make the decisions here, and you can judge me for it, but the responsibility falls on me.

Or say, you know what, I made a mistake. I should not have kept Joe Mixon on the team, and that is not what we’re going to be about going forward.

Both of those are strong, stable positions. There are innumerable ways to handle this (many of them in Stoops‘ and Mixon’s favor), but this is one of the worst. Stoops wobbled on Wednesday big time, and he did so in the weakest way possible.

He did so in a way that put any future blame for his decision-making on a society that doesn’t believe pummeling women in public spaces is an acceptable way to represent an organization. He flipped his position and tried to redistribute blame. We are talking about one of the five most powerful non-political figures in the state here. And he’s faux-cowering to a societal norm that he may or may not believe in. He’s hiding behind public perception instead of taking a stand.

You’re better than this, Bob.

Or maybe you’re not.

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