Some called for at least a one-game suspension for Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield following his February arrest for public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest in Fayetteville, Ark. Others said the veteran leader of the Sooners didn’t deserve to be punished for something so trivial.
In the end, Mayfield was fined $300 by the city of Fayetteville (the usual penalty, according to the district attorney’s office) and slapped with a team-mandated punishment of 35 hours of community service — including work with law enforcement — and alcohol education.
Usually, team penalties are handed out by the coaching staff. However, Mayfield’s case was put in the hands of a small “leadership council” made up of Oklahoma players, according to a report from Sports on Earth.
The council was formed after Oklahoma’s 40-6 loss to Clemson in the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl. Originally made up of team leaders Ty Darlington, Trevor Knight, Eric Striker, Zack Sanchez, Nila Kasitati, Sterling Shepard and Charles Tapper, it was that group that got the Sooners through the 2015 SAE scandal, which rocked Oklahoma and started a conversation about racism on campus.
Two years later, the council has survived to handle team matters, according to linebacker and member Ogbonnia Okoronkwo.
“That was a big deal, but we can’t just kill him,” Okoronkwo said at Big 12 media days in July. “It’s Baker and it’s going to be a bigger deal because it’s Baker. And he hadn’t done anything before that deal.
“From person to person, you handle it differently. He’s not a guy who’s always doing stuff to get in trouble, so as the leadership, we talked about what was appropriate. It’s monitored by players and not the coaching staff.”
Mayfield completed his punishment working with Meals on Wheels and the Special Olympics, spending time with veterans and teaching bicycle safety to kids, according to the report.