By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots may be looking to add a running back in April’s NFL Draft, but one of them is already off their board – and not for football reasons.
According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, the Patriots “absolutely will not even consider” drafting 20-year-old Oklahoma Sooners running back Joe Mixon at the NFL Draft, which starts April 27 in Philadelphia. Mixon has been embroiled in controversy ever since a video from 2014 surfaced in December, showing the running back punching a woman in the head.
Mixon pled guilty to misdemeanor assault and was suspended for the 2014 season in the wake of the incident. It was around that same time that former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended after a video surfaced of him assaulting his fiancee in an elevator. Patriots owner Robert Kraft later said on CBS This Morning that Rice would probably never play in the NFL again.
The Patriots’ hard stance against Mixon would be consistent with the Krafts’ views on players with histories of domestic abuse. The team reportedly won’t even discuss signing free-agent running back Adrian Peterson, either, because of his history of child abuse.
Back in 1996, the Patriots under Bill Parcells drafted Nebraska defensive tackle Christian Peter, who had a known history of domestic violence at the time. Kraft reportedly called for Peter’s release soon after the draft.
“While I believe in second chances and giving players an opportunity for redemption, I also believe that playing in the NFL is a privilege, not a right,” Kraft told the Herald. “For me, personally, I believe that privilege is lost for men who have a history of abusing women.”
Considering the Kraft family’s history of staying away from players with domestic abuse problems, it should come as no surprise that they are not considering drafting Mixon. Fortunately, the 2017 draft class is particularly deep at the running back position, and Bill Belichick will have no shortage of talents to choose from – without the ugly past.
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.