Tony Casillas’ words carry a lot of weight around Norman, Okla., considering he was a consensus All-American in 1984 and 1985, a crucial member of the ’85 national championship team at OU, the second pick in the 1986 NFL Draft and someone Sooner coaching legend Barry Switzer called arguably the greatest defensive lineman to ever play at Oklahoma.
So his opinion this week in the wake of the De’Andre Johnson news should be carefully considered around OU.
To refresh: Last week Florida State freshman QB De’Andre Johnson was suspended indefinitely after allegedly punching a woman in a bar. The state attorney viewed video of the incident and decided to arrest Johnson and charge him with misdemeanor battery. On Monday, video of the punch surfaced publicly and Johnson was later dismissed from the team.
Now, Florida State is catching some heat for not dismissing Johnson until after the video became public, but FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said he didn’t see the video until Monday evening and then made his decision. FSU and Fisher are allowed to go through a deliberate process — they have a responsibility to do so, in fact — before making a decision, even if the public reaches the same outcome much faster. The important thing was FSU suspended Johnson immediately upon the allegations, took whatever time it needed to gather the information and then delivered the penalty once it saw the awful video and fully realized what happened.
Enter Casillas and Oklahoma. The same has not happened at OU in regards to running back Joe Mixon.
Mixon pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault last summer after allegedly punching a woman in the face. She was knocked unconscious by the punch and suffered a broken jaw, broken cheekbone, fractured sinus and fractured orbit near her left eye. There is reportedly video evidence of that incident, too, which Oklahoma saw before deciding to suspend Mixon for the entire 2014 season, reinstating him for spring practice in 2015. The video was sealed in court and therefore will not be released publicly (unless TMZ does what it does, of course). Mixon will play for the Sooners this fall.
Now add this: In March, a video surfaced of members of the SAE fraternity at Oklahoma chanting a racial slur on a bus, which ignited national outrage and led to the involved students being expelled from the university and the Norman chapter of the fraternity being shut down. Mixon gets a second chance after apparently obliterating a woman’s face, but the racist chanters don’t. This is where Casillas has a problem.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Casillas called out Oklahoma for a “double standard” in how it has handled the two ugly incidents.
Casillas scratches the surface on two points many of us are thinking this week: 1) Society reacts most swiftly to visual evidence, and the primary reason Joe Mixon is still a Sooner and De’Andre Johnson is no longer a Seminole is because video is publicly available in one case and not the other; 2) Why should it matter at Oklahoma if the video is not public? The Sooners saw it, and it’s awful. What else do you need to know?
Now, Casillas isn’t necessarily saying Oklahoma should have expelled Mixon last year before his college career even began (that’s a different issue based on whatever you want to believe). He’s saying there can’t be a double standard for discipline at Oklahoma with second chances handed out only to star athletes.
There are many sides to take here, but we can all agree on this: No act — even as ugly as the racial slur that was yelled on the bus is — is worse than what Mixon did.
At the very least, Oklahoma has to take Casillas’ lead and ask if its decision on Mixon would be different should the video be released and why. We all can presume there wouldn’t be a second chance for Joe Mixon at Oklahoma if we saw him striking a woman like De’Andre Johnson.
Teddy Mitrosilis works in content production at FOX Sports Digital. Follow him on Twitter @TMitrosilis and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.