Did I Mention He Is 18

Image of a sign that reads Don’t Trust The Corporate Media

Let me try to make a nuanced argument about the ongoing Joe Mixon spectacle in Norman.

If you live in the Oklahoma City area, you might not know much about what’s going on in Ukraine right now or what President Barack Obama’s reaction is to ISIS, and you might not know how much money the state will be giving to other richer states in Medicaid money because of foolish right-wing ideology. The figure, in case you’re interested, is $4.5 billion through 2022.

What you WILL know about, at least on some level, is that an 18-year-old football player for the Oklahoma Sooners has been charged with the misdemeanor crime of "acts resulting in gross injury” for hitting a 20-year-old woman in the face at a restaurant in Norman on July 25.

Believe me, this isn’t a defense of Joe Mixon, the player accused in the crime.

This is a defense of basic priorities in our culture.

I find it disconcerting and just downright sad that “about 40 members of the media,” according to NewsOK.com, showed up to watch a surveillance video of the incident. That number again is 40. Let me be clear that I believe the Norman Police Department should have released the video to the general public, but it’s tragic that its limited premier attracted so much media attention. It tells the ugly truth about misplaced interests. Did you know this is an election year? What’s the name of the Democrat candidate running for governor? What Democrat is running against U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe? How much has state education funding been cut in Oklahoma since 2008?

Mixon hasn’t played a down of football for the University of Oklahoma. He’s only 18. He might be a highly recruited player, but he’s in college, not the pros, and he hasn’t even played yet. It’s also a given that football attracts macho participants who are coached to smash through the line with brute force or sack a quarterback or deliver a bruising tackle to a wide receiver. Football these days is about consistent concussions leading to brain damage among players and suspensions for drug use and criminal charges. It’s a violent sport that attracts violent people. In 20 or 30 years, football, unless there are major rule changes, might not even exist as a major spectator event. There, I said it.

Football player hit woman. Sky blue. Grass green. Sun hot. Ice cold. Feel itch. Scratch.

My point, then, about the Mixon case is so what? The corporate media in this state can’t even cover the state legislature with any depth or give a truthful and consistent accounting of our earthquake emergency, but some 18-year-old kid accused of a misdemeanor crime can elicit breathless coverage and endless speculation over whether he’ll ever play football in Oklahoma. He’s not even from Oklahoma. Why should anyone even care? Did I mention he’s 18?

So “about 40 members” of the media—these are presumably grown men and women getting paid—showed up to watch the Mixon video. Was it a smash hit? Did they have refreshments? Popcorn? Nachos? How much media energy has been expended on this story? How many words have been written and how many video clips have been produced about some 18-year-old wannabe football player? How much talk radio has been devoted to the spectacle? (I wouldn’t know, but I presume it has been quite a bit.) Do you know how many Oklahoma college students have loan debt simply because they want an education? Have you read Thomas Piketty’s book about income inequality yet?

The wannabe is still big man on campus, according to NewsOK.com, which points outs:

Despite his suspension, Mixon has remained in close contact with the football program. He attended a practice open to OU students and afterward was seen walking with a member of the football department. Tuesday, Mixon was at OU’s practice for at least some of the session.

I wonder what the young woman involved in the altercation thinks about Mixon’s status with the football program? Why did OU President David Boren and Sooners coach Bob Stoops obviously side with Mixon in this case and not the woman he hit as apparently shown by the video watched by about 40 presumably adult media types?

Oh, never mind about that, media types. How many yards do you think Mixon will gain if he ever plays for the Sooners? Will he be as good as a running back as Adrian Peterson? Can he be the key to a national championship? Will he be, as coach Stoops likes to tell News9’s Dean Blevins, et. al., a “special” player? That’s what matters. Did I mention he hasn’t played a down for the Sooners yet?

Mixon’s so adorbs! Does he tweet? What’s his favorite television show? What’s his favorite food? Is he a dog person or a cat person? What music does he like? So, again, how many yards will he gain? What does it feel like to be so young but so famous? Did I mention he’s 18? Ridic.