Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, speaking publicly Friday for the first time since surveillance video was released of him punching a female student in the face in 2014, profusely apologized for the incident.
"It's never, never OK to retaliate and hit a woman the way I did," Mixon said. "I'm here to apologize to everybody that was affected."
A week ago, Mixon's attorneys released two surveillance videos that showed the punch, which fractured four bones in Amelia Molitor's face. Mixon was charged with a misdemeanor at the time of the incident, and the university suspended him for the entire 2014 season.
On Friday, Mixon directed his apology to Molitor as well as Sooners coach Bob Stoops, university president David Boren, athletic director Joe Castiglione, his teammates and "most of all, my family."
"I'm just here to apologize to Miss Molitor," Mixon said. "I let a lot of people down."
Molitor's attorney, Ben Baker, released a statement later Friday, saying that Molitor "acknowledges the apology and statements made by Joe Mixon today, as well as Mr. Mixon taking full responsibility for what occurred on July 25, 2014."
"We are optimistic that today's events will help in the process of obtaining closure for those involved and, ultimately, in the resolution of all other matters related to that night," the statement said.
Mixon was asked about the events that led to his punching Molitor.
"Honestly, it really don't matter what she did that night. It's all on me," Mixon said. "The reason why I'm in this position right now. I take full responsibility on what happened that night. It's never OK to hit a woman -- never. I will preach that to anybody. It's never OK, and hopefully people around the world can learn from my mistake and I'm willing to teach."
Stoops, who saw the surveillance video with Boren and Castiglione shortly after the incident, has been criticized for allowing Mixon to rejoin the team after the suspension.
Mixon, who said he still is receiving counseling and that he performed 100 hours of community service, said he "didn't want to wait so long" to publicly apologize but that he was advised by lawyers "to keep my mouth closed" in the 2½ years since the incident.
"I definitely wish it would have came out sooner for the best of everybody," Mixon said. "I can't do nothing but thank Coach Stoops for the second chance he gave me. Can't do nothing but thank President Boren and my teammates for sticking by me."
Three days after incident, Mixon told police, in a videotaped interview obtained by The Oklahoman earlier this week, that he heard a racial slur from Molitor's male friend but not from Molitor. And Mixon admitted that he responded with an anti-gay slur at the male friend.
Norman police detective David Freudiger told Mixon that Molitor's version of events were that Mixon and some of his teammates begin harassing Molitor and her friend, because the friend is gay, and that they went into the sandwich shop to evade the situation.
Mixon went inside the sandwich shop. In the surveillance video, Mixon turned away, but he appeared to say something to Molitor's friend. Molitor pushed Mixon. He lunged at her. She slapped him. Then he punched her, which caused her face to slam back into a table.
"It was very difficult. It was tough. It haunted me," Mixon said of being suspended for a year after the incident. "[The incident] still haunts me to this day. I dream about it. If I could go back, I would do whatever I could to change the outcome of that situation. ... I wouldn't have been in that situation."
Stoops has said that if the incident had happened now, it would be "just not acceptable" and he would've dismissed Mixon from the team.
The city of Norman had shielded the surveillance video from the public since the incident, prompting a lawsuit from the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters. Earlier this month, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in favor of the broadcasters and ordered the city to release the tape under Oklahoma's Open Records Act.
In 11 games for the Sooners this season, Mixon has rushed for a team-leading 1,183 yards and eight touchdowns. He finished the 2016 regular season ranked second in the country in all-purpose yards and was a first-team All-Big 12 selection.
Oklahoma plays Auburn in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 2.
Mixon, a third-year sophomore who is eligible for the 2017 NFL draft, said he was undecided about whether he'll return to the Sooners in 2017 and will decide after the bowl game.