The Bengals’ selection of Joe Mixon has shown that Cincinnati is committed to getting better. It also proves they can turn the other cheek. Can the fans?
There’s no need to stick your head in the sand. Conversely, there’s no reasoning behind getting angry about the situation. If you don’t know what the “big deal” is in the Queen City, just think back to the 2017 NFL Draft. That’s when the Bengals decided to select Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon. By adding him to the Cincinnati landscape, they effectively created a firestorm that won’t die quickly.
Wait. Don’t you know who Mixon is? Let’s just say he’s been in the news lately. In fact, he’s been in the news way too much. The mention of his name tends to send chills down spines and put scowls on the faces of people who don’t understand the word forgiveness. With that said, Mixon’s mission in Cincinnati is clear. He’s not supposed to be the ambassador of good feelings for the Bengals. Heck, he’s not even obligated to do some of the things certain media outlets claim he should.
What is Mixon’s job? It’s quite simple. He’s supposed to take a handoff from Andy Dalton ( AJ McCarron if ya nasty), hit the holes that the Bengals’ O-Line creates and run like a maniac. Since he started playing the game that so many worship, that’s probably been his main goal. It was about getting to the pinnacle of his profession and being the best.
Mixon In The Middle
Unfortunately, we live in a society that doesn’t look beyond what you did yesterday or a few years ago. The internet (dem inner nets, as George W. would say) has made it virtually impossible to move ahead with your life. After a major or minor mishap, rewriting your lifestyle is going to be an uphill battle. Mixon is stuck in the middle, with clowns to the left and jokers to the right (Google Stealers Wheel).
There are always going to be fans who scream for his head on a platter. But, it’s not about his past. It’s about the future this young man can supply to the city of Cincinnati. I’m not saying that Mixon shouldn’t be a part of doing more. By all means, he should become a part of the fabric of the city. Yet, holding his past against him does nothing for the climate of the town. If Cincy is going to prove that it’s more than a backwoods town with big city dreams, this has to be the moment. It’s time to play like the Big Boys.
How does Joe fit the plan? Essentially, all Mixon has to do is play lights out. The aspect of forgiveness will come with his stats blossoming into 10 or 15-yard bursts into the second level. When he stiff arms a defender and blazes into the end zone, his critics will change their tune. Success tends to do that. The only ingredients necessary to make people forget are time and prosperity.
Embrace And Let Go
It’s hard for some people to forget. But, this could be something that works for the Bengals and the city. When Mixon puts on Corey Dillon’s old number and slashes through defenses, he’ll become a part of history.
As he does that, it’s the civic duty of fans to put the past behind and support the effort he’s giving. If he falls below expectations on the field, he deserves the standard disapproval of Cincy fans. But, attacking him for something that has been settled is futile. It’s too late to hold his future for ransom. Marvin Lewis and Co. did their homework on Mixon. Now, it’s time for him to return the favor (1,500 yards please and thank you).
Mixon’s selection hasn’t really divided the city like many think. It’s just the views of a select few that always seem to creep through. But, when Joe was selected, his altercation with Amelia Molitor was in the forefront. Mixon has paid for his transgression. He was suspended, It’s been settled in court and he’s done 100 hours of community service. Did I mention he’s had counseling?
"“At the end of the day, I’m gonna take full responsibility for my actions,” Mixon explained. “I know it wasn’t right. If I could take it back, I will. But at the same time, I can’t go back. It’s what you do from there and that mistake. And as long as you learn from your mistakes, they’ll see improvement.”"
He’s said it. Now, it’s time for Bengals fans and Cincinnati to help him adjust.