On the night of February 25, 2017, things escalated quickly in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Mayfield was in town to visit some friends with his girlfriend when an incident occurred outside a Chinese restaurant. According to the Oklahoman, Mayfield was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, public intoxication and resisting arrest.
Officers were speaking with another man after he witnessed someone steal Chinese food. Mayfield, who did not appear to have anything to do with the stolen food, started yelling and cursing as the officers spoke with the witness. Mayfield became belligerent and refused to cooperate. The officers approached Mayfield to ask him to speak with them. Mayfield refused and began to run away. At this point, the officers tackled him. ESPN had a slightly different account noting Mayfield told the officers he was trying to break up an altercation. ESPN also noted the police were in the area to investigate an assault and battery report.
Mayfield can be heard on the video, multiple times, asking, “What did I do?” Mayfield would later plead guilty to public intoxication, disorderly conduct and fleeing arrest. According to the Washington Post, the charge for resisting arrest was dismissed. The plea deal required Mayfield to pay multiple fines. According to The Washington Post, Mayfield paid $300 in fines for the three charges, $160 for the court costs and $483.20 in restitution. Mayfield also was required to complete 35 hours of community service in addition to attending an alcohol-education course.
By all accounts, the incident could have been avoided by answering the police’s questions and not attempting to flee from the scene. However, an intoxicated Mayfield did not appear to be thinking clearly. Mayfield later posted a lengthy apology on Twitter.
After admitting his own shame made it difficult to be around his teammates, he closed the statement with these words.
I wish I could individually apologize to every single person that I have affected. Just know that I am extremely sorry. I will earn your respect back and prove that I can handle myself in every situation, on and off the field.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman, Mayfield explained what he learned from the incident, and what he felt after the arrest video was released.
It wasn’t a great feeling. Disappointing really, knowing that it was going to be out there. There would be no stones left unturned with that one so everybody would know what happened. I just kind of had to shut my phone down there for a while and not respond or look at anything and really just kind of rely on the people that were right there for me instead of looking into everything.
While Mayfield did not have anymore off-field issues, two on-field incidents caused Mayfield to once again be in the public eye. After Oklahoma defeated Ohio State in Columbus, Mayfield grabbed the Oklahoma flag and planted it on the Ohio State logo at midfield. Later in the season, a camera caught Mayfield grabbing his crotch while yelling obscenities at a Kansas defensive player. Mayfield later apologized for both incidents.
Here’s a look at both incidents.
Here’s an abbreviated version of Mayfield getting arrested.