Marcus Dixon’s Story Of Redemption| Black, Falsely Accused, Incarcerated To NFL Coach

Growing up in Georgia, Marcus Dixon always aspired to play football. He was a three-sport high school athlete who also played basketball and ran track, but on the gridiron is where Dixon made his name. Dixon isn’t just athletically gifted, he carried an A average and his success as a true student-athlete earned him a full athletic scholarship to Vanderbilt University.

Even though he lost most of his senior season of high school to injury, the Commodores never reneged on the scholarship. The elite academic university had high hopes for Dixon.

That is until Dixon was accused of rape among other charges. Following these allegations, Dixon, never saw the light of day in Nashville. The promising young man never got an opportunity to wear a gold and black Vandy uniform.

Life Changes Overnight For Dixon

In February 2003 a 15-year old girl named Kristie Brown alleged that Dixon, 18, at the time, forced her to have sex and in the process stole her virginity. Brown also acted as if she hardly knew Dixon outside of having some classes with the standout athlete. When the case went to trial Dixon was acquitted of rape, battery, assault and false imprisonment. Due to the alleged victim being just 15, however, Dixon was still found guilty of statutory rape and aggravated child molestation, two lesser charges.

 

Sentenced To 10 Years In Jail: Dixon Is Released After 15 Months (May 2004)

Dixon was sentenced solely on the color of his skin. There have been many instances where Caucasian counterparts get absolutely no charges or prison time for similar allegations, in most cases those allegations are much worse. If they even get community service it’s a surprise.

Upon his release, the aggravated child molestation charge was overturned. But the statutory rape charge remained.

Legendary Hampton Coach Joe Taylor Signs Dixon Out Of Prison

Dixon, now searching to put his shattered life back together, joined the Hampton Pirates on a full athletic scholarship. In four seasons he showed flashes of the talent that made him am elite SEC recruit, while tallying 154 tackles and 11.5 sacks.

Hampton’s Taylor should be commended for taking a chance on Dixon and giving him a shot at redemption. Taylor understood that he was railroaded and was on a trajectory towards greatness before his incarceration. As he had done his entire life, Dixon took advantage of the opportunity and excelled, helping to lead the Pirates to three MEAC championships, while also being named All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference his junior and senior seasons.

The NFL Was Still In His Future Despite His Past Legal Challenges

Upon graduating from Hampton, Dixon wasn’t drafted. He did sign with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent. He hung around the league for the better part of six seasons, playing for the Jets, Titans, and Chiefs. Dixon even traveled north of the border and took a stab at playing in the CFL for the British Columbia Lions.

Dixon Working His Way Through The Coaching Ranks

During his playing days, Dixon also volunteered as a coach. He was intelligent, focused and had a knack for motivating people. Dixon coached at numerous stops and was even being offered a Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship by the Cowboys in 2015. The BWMCF is a tool which was designed to increase the number of full-time minority coaches. All 32 NFL teams participate each year.

That in itself was a huge steppingstone for Dixon, who used the platform to head back to his alma mater (Hampton) and pay it forward. Dixon spent four seasons (2017-20) back at the Virginia HBCU working in various capacities. In 2021, Dixon elevated to the NFL level after being hired by the Rams as their assistant defensive line coach.

Dixon’s life has gone full circle, and for him to be an NFL coach is a feel-good story.

Not many can say they’ve endured all Dixon has, and through perseverance he now has the opportunity to coach the best defensive lineman (Aaron Donald) in the league daily.

His story just goes to show that life is delicate for a Black man in America. Everything they have worked hard for can be taken away with a false accusation. And when a Black person’s reputation is sullied, it usually follows them.

Dixon is a true story of perserverence and a great case study for young Black athletes trying to figure it all out.


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