Posted by John Taylor on October 30, 2014, 12:44 PM EDT – NBC Sports
Provided he can keep his nose clean over the next year, Joe Mixon‘s legal issues will officially be behind him.
Multiple media outlets reported Thursday that the touted 2014 Oklahoma signee has reached an agreement in which he offered up a public apology as part of an Alford Plea. Mixon had originally been charged with acts resulting in gross injury in connection to a late-July incident.
Mixon’s attorney, Kevin Finlay, released a statement addressing the development.
“Today, Joe has made the decision that entering an Alford plea to the misdemeanor and accepting the short period of probation was the best course of action at this point in his life. Joe does not want to be a further distraction to his family, friends, teammates and the University of Oklahoma.
“Joe would like to apologize to everyone affected by this unfortunate chain of events. Joe looks forward to continuing towards his goal of becoming a successful student and athlete at the University of Oklahoma.”
For those wondering, an Alford Plea allows the accused to maintain their innocence even as they acknowledge that enough proof exists that they could be found guilty by a jury of their peers. In exchange for the plea, Mixon was given a one-year deferred sentence, 100 hours of community service and cognitive behavior counseling.
In mid-August, Mixon was suspended by OU for the entire 2014 season, a punitive measure that meant the running back would be excluded from any and all team activities. The one-year suspension came about after Mixon was accused of punching a woman in a late-July confrontation, breaking four bones in her face and leaving her unconscious. Media covering OU viewed a copy of the security tape that caught the exchange, including the knockout punch, between the woman and Mixon; Mixon’s attorney had previously claimed the altercation was preceded by racial slurs.
Mixon was a five-star member of the Sooners’ 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 1 running back in the country and the No. 8 player at any position in the country. He was the highest-rated member of an OU class that was ranked 15th in the country.
It’s expected Mixon will remain at OU and play for the Sooners in 2015.
UPDATED 1:19 p.m. ET: In a statement, OU president David Boren confirmed that, despite the criminal resolution, “Mixon will not play for out football team in 2014, including postseason competitions.” As expected, “[h]e will have an opportunity to earn his way back on the team during the spring semester.”