FOX43 Sports Poll: Does talent rule over character issues in sports?
“Character concerns” are what is often described when a player has “off the field issues.”
Many times, these concerns are what keep a team from signing or selecting a player as an addition to the squad.
Making headlines lately is the debate as to whether or not a team will select former Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon in the upcoming NFL Draft in April.
Mixon, of course, is known partially for his choices off the field as a video of a physical altercation with a female was released in the latter portion of 2016.
The video shows Mixon punching Amelia Molitor, fracturing four bones in her face, during a 2014 altercation at a sandwich shop near Oklahoma’s campus in Norman.
He was charged with a misdemeanor at the time of the incident, and the university suspended him for the entire 2014 season.
Mixon returned to play for the Sooners in 2015, and finished with over 1,000 total yards and 11 touchdowns. In 2016, Mixon really took off, totaling over 1,700 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Normally, that performance would secure Mixon’s status as a first round pick, but his off-the-field baggage has some team’s questioning whether or not to even consider him. In fact, both the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins have reportedly ruled out taking Mixon entirely, removing him from their draft boards.
It will be interesting to see where Mixon lands in the upcoming NFL Draft, but he is hardly the only athlete with off-the-field issues.
In the NFL, free agent defensive end Greg Hardy spent the 2016 season unsigned after the Dallas Cowboys took a chance on an embattled player that was involved in a domestic violence situation. Former All-Pro LB Aldon Smith has not been able to get on the field, dealing with suspensions that ranged from drug usage to violent and unruly behavior. However, Smith has received contracts from the Oakland Raiders in each of the past two seasons, despite dealing with all the disciplinary issues.
Of course, former Ravens’ RB Ray Rice has not seen an NFL field since the release of a video that showed him knocking out his now wife, Janay Palmer. It’s clear that Rice ‘s actions outweighed his talent, as Rice was a productive player in the NFL, totaling over 6,000 yards on the ground in six seasons.
While there is no clear cut answer or blueprint to how teams view and treat players, each situation has its own set of circumstances that make it equally complicated.
Our question is, does talent rule over character issues in sports?