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Berry Tramel  


Father of a disciplined Sooner thanks Bob Stoops

by Berry Tramel Published: July 31, 2014

OU deep snapper Derek Shaw (52) and teammate DeMarrio Pleasant (51) celebrate after OU's Lewis Baker (16) recovered a fumble against Oregon in 2006. (Photo by Nate Billings)
OU deep snapper Derek Shaw (52) and teammate DeMarrio Pleasant (51) celebrate after OU's Lewis Baker (16) recovered a fumble against Oregon in 2006. (Photo by Nate Billings)

The views on the Joe Mixon case keep coming. All sides. Mixon is being treated with kid gloves because he’s a football player. Mixon is being railroaded because he’s a football player. The media is protecting Mixon. The media is roasting Mixon.

But every few hours, something really interesting and/or really insightful comes along. I received a great email on Wednesday morning and got permission to use it. It’s from a man named John Shaw:

“Great story this morning concerning Joe Mixon and how his fate is in the hands of Greg Mashburn and Bob Stoops.  In your story you pretty much admit that this situation and the one with Ryan Broyles aren’t “apples to apples” because stealing gas and hitting a girl are two different things. Let’s remember (I am sure you already have) how Coach Stoops handled the Dusty Dvoracek situation.  He released or redshirted Dusty for a year and told him to get his ‘life in order (counseling, etc.) and then you can come back.’ I hope that this is how Coach Stoops handles Joe Mixon.  Dusty D seems to have done very well after that situation.

“In 2006-2008, my son was a starter for Coach Stoops (deep snapper Derek Shaw) and in the summer of 2009 (leading into his senior year) got into a small bit of trouble.  Coach Stoops suspended my son for the BYU game in Dallas, the young man that started ahead of my son played very well and he started the rest of the season.  My son did not play much that season but competed each day and finished the entire season.  Very disappointing, but our son learned from this and is a much better ‘MAN’ because of this. His mom and I had many more reasons to be proud of our son on Senior Day other than it being his last game.  My son graduated from OU in December of 2010 with his degree in Criminal Justice and is now a police officer in the OKC area.

“I truly trust that Coach Stoops will handle the Joe Mixon situation in a way that is best for the player, as he did my son, and make him accountable along with Ryan Broyles and Dusty D and all the others who have not handled themselves in a way that we wished they had and got into trouble.

“As far as your lawyer friend who talked about OU failing Joe Mixon, I remember dropping my son off at the Switzer Center one August evening in 2006, his room at the Bud Wilkinson was under renovation, so Coach Merv (Johnson) had him stay in the ‘Cates’ (Cate Center) a few nights. He was the only player in the ‘Cates.’ My son was a recruited walkon and they wanted him in the Bud because they had him ‘penciled in’ (as Coach Kevin Sumlin put it) as the starter.  All of the other walkons were living in the Walker towers.

“My son was lonely that first week, constantly had coach Schmitty (Jerry Schmidt) in his grill (as my son put it), Rufus Alexander ‘laid him out’ the first time they went live at the rugby fields.  I didn’t think he was going to make it through everything, this definitely wasn’t high school and he definitely wasn’t the star or leader anymore.  But our son made it! I can remember my son calling me and talking softly (very upset) on the bus after the Oregon game because he had a bad play that hurt his team in that loss.  My wife and I could not attend that game and we were both so upset after his call.  We made certain that we didn’t miss another game after that one, for four years, whether he played or not.  I remember our son calling me the first time Coach Schmitty kicked him out of morning workouts because he didn’t feel that he was working hard enough.   Our son wanted to come home after that event, but his mom and I wouldn’t let him.  We drove to Norman and had supper with him and told him ‘NO, you are staying and finishing this out.’ Things did get better!

“Our son did not turn 18 until June of 2006, like Joe Mixon, just a few weeks before he started his first game against Alabama-Birmingham.  Our son had to grow up quickly, no ‘little boy’ mistakes, on or off the field or in the classroom. In the end, our son graduated from OU with a degree and is now a great citizen in the OKC community, his mom and I are very proud of this. I still tell people that it was because of what all my son went through at OU and Coach Stoops and Coach Sumlin and Coach Merv and Coach Schmitty (whether my son wants to admit to that or not,  LOL) that has helped make him and prepared him for what he is today.

“I guess I am sending this email to you because I read your articles and listen to you on the radio a lot and truly think ‘Berry Tramel gets it and understands it.’ It is easy for the Jim Trabers of the world to make their judgmental  comments about Green-Beckham and Joe Mixon.  But we need to remember one thing, Joe Mixon, Dusty D, Ryan Broyles, Green-Beckham and my son were once boys trying to grow up and made mistakes.  One other thing about these young men and my son, they all have mommas who love them and did their best to raise them and it hurts deeply when they have to hear that their boys made those mistakes.  I can remember my wife’s tears when it scrolled at the bottom of the ESPN screen that our son had been suspended for the BYU game. Those tears weren’t for her, they were for our son who we knew was hurting because of his mistake.

“My prayers are that in four or five years Green-Beckham, Mixon and all of the others that will get in trouble in the next few years will be held accountable by Coach Stoops as my son, Ryan Broyles and Dusty D were.  They will then take that accountability and become better people.  But at the same time were given second chances to stay and be a part of the team and family.  My son still stays in contact with the Ryan Broyles, Sam Bradfords, Gerald McCoys, Garrett Hartleys and so on.  No one ever mentions or probably even remembers his mistake, only that he was a part of the team and now the family.  But he wouldn’t be without Coach Stoops making him accountable and giving him a second chance.”


by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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