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Tony Mitchell is willing to own his mistakes and learn from the consequences. The Alabama freshman defensive back made that clear during a profound speech over the weekend.
Mitchell, a four-star recruit in the Class of 2023, committed to play for the Crimson Tide over offers from Georgia, Texas A&M, Auburn, LSU, USC and Ohio State, among others. He chose to enroll early for the spring semester and got to Tuscaloosa in January.
However, while on spring break, Mitchell was arrested in Florida. Police pulled him over during a traffic stop and detected the “odor of burnt marijuana” coming from the vehicle.
Mitchell was driving, and both he and passenger Christophere Lewis were taken into custody after police discovered a large amount of cannabis, cash, and a gun in the car. Video of his arrest is emotional.
Mitchell was subsequently removed from the team, and sentenced at the end of May. The 19-year-old received three years of probation, 100 hours of community service, and paid a $1,560 fine.
Both Mitchell and his father have said that the young cornerback has been reinstated by Alabama football. Nick Saban nor the program have yet to comment on the matter.
Tony Mitchell is remorseful.
For the first time since his arrest in March, Mitchell spoke publicly over the weekend. Well, he spoke privately to the players at the Southern Xpress 7-on-7 football team’s end-of-year banquet, but shared the video on Twitter.
Mitchell showed contrition during his speech.
Here is what he had to say:
“I just want to start off by thanking God for not just being there for me but also for slowing me down. Even though this situation was beyond hard for me, I find joy in knowing that if God didn’t stop where he did, something much bigger could have happened. I also want to thank Alabama football for seeing my potential and giving me a second chance.
“I am grateful for everyone who supported me through this hard time. Every day, just thinking the possibility of it all being over with devastated me. I didn’t know if I would get to play football again, but I continued to work out and stay close with the Lord and those who love me unconditionally.
“During these times, it helped me to keep my mind off it, but when I was by myself, looking at social media and what everybody had to say about it, it just felt like it happened again. I couldn’t sleep at night. Everyone is always going to have something to say about you, whether you’re right or wrong.
“But I appreciate my family and my dad for always being there for me and the constant advice, my mom for always making time to talk to me and my grandma for always being there for me since I was young and all my events and games. And Byron (De’Vinner) also being a mentor for me and all the college trips we went on all the time. My trainers, Donnie Lee and Mike McCoy, for pushing me to train hard and helping me take my game to another level.
“I was doing things knowing I shouldn’t to try to fit in, but not everybody is your friend. And I learned this when I looked around and saw that our morals didn’t align. To all the athletes here tonight, just keep pursuing your dreams. God’s got a designated path for you, and all your talents are from the Lord. Do not let anyone or anything distract you from your purpose, and keep a small circle of people that truly love and care about you. Always work hard because it will pay off in the end. Thank you.”
Mitchell has found perspective in wake of his arrest. And although he didn’t specifically say the words “sorry” or “apologize,” his penitence shined through.
Credit to Mitchell for sharing his speech publicly. Credit to him for making his speech at all.