ESPN’s Brent Musburger praised an Oklahoma player suspended for assaulting a woman — then went off on fans who criticized him

Joe MixonSean Gardner/Getty

ESPN broadcaster Brent Musburger repeatedly praised Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon during Monday night’s Sugar Bowl, calling him “one of the best” during the second quarter and, in the third quarter, wishing him well in the NFL.

Mixon was suspended for the entire 2014 season after he pleaded guilty to assault. Video released early last month from the 2014 incident showed him punching a woman in the face in a restaurant and leaving while she was still on the ground. The woman, who suffered four fractured bones in her face, is suing him in federal court.

Oklahoma coaches “all swear that the young man is doing fine,” Musburger said of Mixon in the second quarter of the Sugar Bowl. “He’s just one of the best. Let’s hope, given a second chance by Bob Stoops and Oklahoma, let’s hope this young man makes the most of his second chance and goes on to have a career in the National Football League.”

I rewound this to make sure I wasn’t being too tough on Brent. Nope. It’s even worse the second time. This is embarrassing.

— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) January 3, 2017

Musburger’s initial praise was quickly passed around social media, garnering widespread criticism. In the third quarter, Musburger returned to the subject of Mixon and doubled down on his praise of the Oklahoma running back.

Musburger told fellow ESPN commentator Jesse Palmer:

“You know, Jess, apparently, some people were upset when I wished this young man well at the next level. Let me make something perfectly clear. What he did with that young lady was brutal, uncalled for. He’s apologized. He was tearful. He got a second chance. He got a second chance from Bob Stoops. I happen to pull for people with second chances, OK. Let me make it absolutely clear that I hope he has a wonderful career and he teaches people with that brutal, violent video, OK?”

Oklahoma went on to win, 35-19. Mixon had two touchdowns.

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