Sexual assault activist demands answers from Oklahoma in wake of Joe Mixon video
Like most who saw the tape, Brenda Tracy was horrified by Mixon punching a woman in 2014
Activist Brenda Tracy has sent an email to Oklahoma officials demanding the school publicly state a "zero tolerance" policy regarding violence against women.
Tracy, a rape victim, was impacted significantly Friday night after viewing tape of tailback Joe Mixon punching OU student Amelia Molitor in 2014.
Tracy's reaction was typical of a national outcry after the tape was released.
"Seeing it was horrifying," Tracy told CBS Sports on Saturday. "I was nauseous, and I cried."
In her email to coach Bob Stoops and athletic director Joe Castiglione, Tracy challenged Oklahoma leaders to answer a simple question: If Joe Mixon punched a woman today, would he be kicked off the team?
After assaulting Molitor, Mixon was suspended for the entire 2014 season but allowed to remain with the team. He has starred for the Sooners over the last two seasons. Mixon is expected to play his last college game next month in the Sugar Bowl.
"Are you a coach who wants to bring in a player and win football games," Tracy asked rhetorically, "or are you a coach who wants to build men of character and win football games?
"In truth, if Mixon wasn't a good player, they wouldn't have taken a risk."
Below is the full text of Tracy's letter, as originally published on the Huffington Post as part of a blog entry written by Tracy on the situation.
Coach Stoops and AD Castiglione,
Obviously, we've all heard that the Mixon tape was released. I cried and felt physically nauseous as I watched it - as I'm sure many women and victims of violence did.
I have been very public about my alliance with the OU football team and Coach Stoops. I absolutely believe that any program, regardless of past decisions, can do better - if they so choose. I have always considered OU to be a powerhouse program that has the ability and opportunity to help shift a culture that values winning over human life and leaves victims to suffer lifelong consequences at the cost of winning.
Lets be honest, your program looks really terrible right now - and justifiably so. As a public voice on the issue of violence against women I have been inundated with interview requests and questions. Do I regret my involvement with the football program? Were Coach Stoops and the Athletic Department using me to push their own agenda? Do you think you are making a difference? and then of course there are the vicious Baylor fans who are calling me a hypocrite and so on and so forth.
I have chosen not to make a comment on the video right now. I wanted to contact you gentlemen first. I value my relationship with your program and I see a great opportunity to do some good work here - if of course, you are willing.
It is my understanding that as the AD and Head coach you can implement policies and procedures as you see fit. Now, would be a great time to overhaul some policies and procedures and set a new precedent and legacy moving forward. One that OU can be proud of.
I would propose that you fly me out to Oklahoma after the first of the year and we sit down and create some new policies that will prevent future incidents of violent athletes being recruited to Oklahoma football. I would propose that Oklahoma become the gold standard in football. That your program would become the example of accountability and best practices for recruitment and discipline of violent athletes. A football program that not only recognizes the importance of ending violence against women, but understands their responsibility to be part of the solution within this violent culture.
You have the opportunity to be the change college football so desperately needs. I want to continue to partner with you, but I think at this point that includes some action. This has moved beyond an apology and a promise to do better at a press conference. It's time for Oklahoma to show and prove.
I look forward to hearing from you and hopefully working with you.
Tracy became a leading advocate for women's rights this year, speaking to several teams and coaches around the country. She was gang-raped 18 years ago by four men, two of them Oregon State players. No arrests were ever made.
Since speaking to Stoops and his players in August, Tracy said Stoops has become one of her closest allies. On Saturday, she said that friendship with the coach could potentially be impacted by how Oklahoma answers her email.
"I think they have a decision to make right now," Tracy said. "I think it's a make-or-break deal right now. You have to take a hard-line stance.
"Coach Stoops does not look good right now. He's made some bad choices ... but I'm not ready to put his head on the chopping block, either. I'm waiting to see what he does going forward."
Oklahoma officials didn't immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the email, which was sent mid-afternoon Saturday.
"The question today is, if you get a Joe Mixon tape today, what are you going to do with it?" Tracy said in recounting the email. "I did offer my services to come sit down and talk about policies and procedures. There needs to be zero tolerance."
Depending on OU's response, Tracy added Oklahoma could "join the ranks of Baylor or the ranks of Coach [Mike] Riley."
Baylor is the throes of a sexual assault scandal that started in May. Riley, currently coach at Nebraska, was Oregon State's coach in 1998.
Tracy visited Nebraska in June to confront Riley and speak to the Cornhuskers about violence against women. She asked why Riley suspended those players for only one game and gave them community service.
Riley explained he didn't have full knowledge of the situation. Since then, Riley and Stoops have become two of her biggest advocates.
Several coaches have instituted zero tolerance policies regarding violence against women. That was Steve Spurrier's policy for years while he was at Florida and South Carolina. Charlie Strong and Urban Meyer are among other notable coaches to have long-standing zero tolerance policies.
Washington State coach Mike Leach told CBS Sports on Friday, "No one wants to be around thieves or cowards. Hit a woman, [you're] cut."
Due to Tracy's efforts, the NCAA has directed the leaders of Division I, II and III to develop legislation regarding violence against women.
Tracy and Castiglione are part of an NCAA ad hoc committee studying the issue.
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