TLO’s take on the Joe Mixon Tape…
7:00 AM EDT on September 5, 2014
(Editor's Note: We sent 4-time Jeopardy champion, local stand-up comic, and Norman TLO Trivia Night host Wampus Reynolds to the Norman Police Department on Thursday morning to review the Joe Mixon assault tape with the "media." Here is his report.)
When I heard the Norman PD was releasing the Joe Mixon assault tape, I like every other rubbernecking and curious OU fan wanted to see the video. Mixon couldn't have just decked an innocent girl for no reason, right? He's a Sooner. The players have a, sigh, great reputation. There had to be a Zapruder film showing a second puncher-in-the-facer in the booth behind the action, or perhaps the victim Molitor had a fake plastic thumb full of chicken guts that she dumps on her face like a charlatan bare handed surgeon.
But this "screening" (seriously, Norman Police Department, you call this a "screening?" Screening is a free 5 o'clock showtime at Tinseltown of the new Paul Rudd comedy. Call it VIEWING.) was for the media only. What the what? Why can Tuff Nixter, sportswriter and classified ad salesman for the Wayne Payne Times see footage that has captured the 405's collective imagination and Joe Landman can't? It really makes no sense. It's like sports folk were now courtroom sketch artists, but instead of drawing in colored pencils a dead-eyed defendant's profile, they had to describe the action.
Outraged Seinfeld voice: "And have you actually read these people?" Not exactly the erudite Roger Aingell prosody around these parts. I've actually heard one sports radio personality say this sentence on air: "He ain't got no, uhhh...fast." You want this guy to relate what happens to you? By the end, you'll think some person turned into an actual pickle and fell on a table and Regular Jim Traber ate it.
I tweeted TLO (for whom I co-host Trivia Night at Local in Norman every Wednesday at 7) that I'd write a real good piece if they got me in with press. And thanks to two emails and a responsive officer, I was on the list. I did get the distinct pleasure of seeing Patrick saying that I should show my "press credentials" and regarding those words as if they were in Sanskrit. I was hoping he'd pull out a dusty fedora with a card saying PRESS tucked in the headband. He wrote back "We ain't got no, uhhh....authorize" instead.
I showed up at the Norman Investigations Center and went in a small group. We walked down a hall (I noticed golf clubs in one office along the way; OJ investigation style!) and entered a big chilly room. Many of the great Oklahoma sports personalities were there. Berry "A six months younger Matlock" Tramel! Andrew "I know from childhood when he had Harpo hair" Gilman! Myron "Myron" Patton"! Others!
The police chief came in, identified himself and moved to the side. Then a captain said he had no comments and they'd start the video. They did.
I'm not going to describe the play-by-action in the video, although it would be interesting to hear Toby Rowland and Merv Johnson do it. Carey Murdock and his colleagues have done a really good, accurate job giving the beats of the footage. Tramel has a fine take as well and for a bonus uses the adjective Solomonic which lends a kind of gravitas to this incident in a place called Pickleman's. I will give some details you won't see anywhere else...
• The quality in the video is very good. Seriously, it has better clarity than most mumblecore movies and Molitor, Mixon and others are right in the foreground. Thanks for the staging, God!
• No one else is in the footage at first except workers behind the counter. Because it's 2:39 am and this is not drunk food. No one says, "Man, I've had too many Whooshing Cha Cha shots tonight. Let's go get some potato salad and a dry turkey sandwich and head off Hangover at the pass." NO. You get pizza or greasy eggs because science. Duh.
• The footage starts with Ms. Molitor already seated with her friend and talking to Mixon's friend... maybe. Why the video didn't start two minutes earlier, I don't know. And since the press asked NOT ONE SINGLE QUESTION THE WHOLE TIME, I didn't feel comfortable saying, "Scoop Reynolds from The Lost Ogle here. What gives, chief?" Especially with Abigail Ogle seated right behind me. I didn't want to explain that "Thelost" wasn't a distant relative. In fact, the only sound made by the press the whole time in the room was a collective "Yes" when asked if they wanted to watch the video again and again and again.
• Norman PD has iTunes on their Windows desktop. I didn't get to ask what songs they rock to while they're emailing tee times because they said no questions and the press didn't figure out they could ask anyway. But I'm guessing they've got Jock Jams volumes 1 and 2 and nothing else.
• The Pickleman's employees had no idea what to do. There is a sociological phenomenon I just made up called "Whatever Happens On That Side Of The Counter Is Miles Away" and it's like the sun on the customer side and you can't stare at it too long because it'll blind you and you can't put pickles in a tub right.
• Mixon's friend (Once again, I'm not a real reporter. I could be Mixon's lover – just kidding, don't punch me Joe Mixon – but I'm pretty sure it was a friend) was wearing a UFC hat. After seeing Mixon's right hook, I can imagine they have watched UFC before.
• One of the people who brings napkins and ice to Molitor (a very hurt Molitor) has sunglasses on her head. Because it's 2:40 am and you gotta be ready for a sneak attack sunrise.
• The message from Norman PD said the screening was at 0900 hours. When I see military time, I don't show up tardy. You know who shows up late to official city functions? Dean Blevins, that's who. Dean came in dressed like a celeb caught by TMZ going to some high-dollar coffee boutique on Sunset. He was dressed down with a Yankees (ewww) cap pulled over his eyes and gray clothes. But thanks to him, we got to see the video for the 5th time.
• One final thing...
In the space of time before you see this video (and I think you can call Norman PD and ask how to see it; file a form or something if you don't want to wait until November 1), I want to really emphasize something: Reporters have to break this thing down into simple sentences, so you're seeing a lot of "she slapped; he punched" construction as the narrative of these few seconds. It may look like balanced, equal actions on either side of that semicolon. It isn't.
That slap that Molitor gave to Mixon was something anyone could brush off with the annoyance like a fly buzzing by your face. The punch by Mixon wasn't a mere annoyance. It was a precise prizefighter punch that could have easily done more damage than it did. Walking away would have been an easy choice to make no matter words were said. Drunks talk shit all the time. Almost every one of us would have walked away, and that's why that punch is a criminal act. Because it gives the impression that Mr. Mixon would act wrongly in other ambiguous or stressful situations. I don't know if he would; he is very young and probably has learned from this. I hope so.
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