FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — True to form, Mike Maccagnan wouldn’t give his scouting report on any particular draft prospect, Joe Mixon included.
But while the Jets general manager declined to say whether the Oklahoma running back is or isn’t on their draft board, Maccagnan made it clear that violence against women is a serious and personal issue to him.
“I don’t want to sit here and say this guy is on our board, this guy is off our board. And that’s more from a competitive standpoint,” he said when asked Monday about the organization’s feelings on Mixon, who punched a woman in the jaw in a restaurant in July 2014, causing four facial fractures. “In that particular player’s instance, I’m not going to necessarily weigh in on him. But I will simply say this, we weigh those things very heavily.”
There’s good reason.
May 8 will mark the seventh anniversary of his friend and neighbor, Janet McAfee, being gunned down by her husband directly across the street from the Maccagnans’ Houston home. In an emotional November interview with Newsday, Maccagnan and his wife, Betty, revealed the harrowing details before and after McAfee was fatally shot by her spouse on the day he was supposed to sign their divorce papers.
Motivated by the memory of her murdered friend, Betty Maccagnan teamed up with the One Love Foundation last year to help educate and empower young people on the dangers of mental and physical abuse in relationships.
Mixon was captured on video striking Amelia Molitor with a right hook after they exchanged words in the restaurant and Molitor subsequently pushed Mixon and slapped his neck.
Mixon was charged with misdemeanor assault and suspended for the 2014 season before being reinstated the following year. He served a year of probation, completed 100 hours of community service and underwent behavioral counseling.
The video of the incident, however, did not become public until this past December. As a result, a player many consider a first-round talent is expected to drop in the draft. Mixon’s talent and athleticism are unquestioned. He ran for 1,274 yards and 10 touchdowns for Oklahoma last season, and caught 37 passes for 538 yards and five TDs.
So, what’s a general manager to do?
“Some teams tend to be very disciplined and diligent, and some teams have a different threshold,” Maccagnan said, steering clear of addressing Mixon or his transgression specifically. “And everybody goes through the process of evaluating all these people, and their character and all these incidents off the field. And some teams, based on the information they gather, may feel more comfortable than other teams.”
Though Maccagnan was careful not to speak about Mixon directly, he said: “There are some things that are very egregious, which I personally have a hard time condoning. And violence in particular, that’s a very serious thing to me. That’s something that for me and my wife, we’ve had a personal experience with that. But I would say, simply, we don’t take it lightly.
“And so, we’ll make our decisions based on what we feel is in the best interest of the organization.”