Off the field issues are becoming more and more important to the NFL in recent years, and one of the latest moves by the NFL Combine is just more proof of that.
According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon and Baylor wide receiver Ishmael Zamora were both not invited to this year’s NFL Combine.
Mixon, of course, could be a potential first round pick if this was about talent alone. However, public outcry about Mixon has risen tenfold since video emerged from a 2014 incident where Mixon struck a woman in the face. Mixon was charged with assault for the incident, and it led to a one-year suspension from the Oklahoma football team.
Zamora isn’t in the same talent tier as Mixon, but he created his own controversy earlier this year when a Snapchat video of him striking a dog repeatedly with a belt emerged on social media. Zamora was suspended three games for the video and eventually charged with a misdemeanor.
The NFL adopted a policy last year that players that have “misdemeanor or felony convictions involving violence or use of a weapon, domestic violence, sexual offense and/or sexual assault” would not be allowed at the NFL Combine.
Mixon and Zamora sort of fit that bill, although it doesn’t appear that either were technically convicted of their crimes; Mixon entered a plea deal and Zamora was cited for his incident. However, the nature of these incidents certainly leaves teams weary about taking them in the Draft, and the Combine may be doing teams a favor by blacklisting them altogether.
The NFL Combine starts on February 28 and will run for a month.