Tyrann Mathieu: The SI Story and his recent arrest

by Travis Normand

Have you read the article on Tyrann Mathieu that appeared in the 22 October 2012 issue of Sports Illustrated? If not, you can read it online by clicking HERE.

Trials of The Honey Badger

Tyrann Mathieu found overnight fame last year, but its spoils have led to comparisons with his imprisoned father, rehab, exile from the LSU football program and, possibly, NCAA violations.

By Thayer Evans and Pete Thamel
Sports Illustrated, Oct 22, 2012
Page 35 – 38

The premise of the article is that Tyrann Mathieu’s NCAA eligibility could be in question due to some promotional flyers and videos that used Mathieu’s image in order to advertise a club/party.  If Mathieu got paid for the ads, or if he knew about the ads and didn’t do anything about them, their could be a violation of NCAA rule 12.5.2.1.

Rule 12.5.2.1 says that anyone who “accepts any remuneration or permits the use of his or her name or picture to advertise, recommend or promote directly the sale or use of a commercial product or service of any kind” is ineligible.

I was expecting this topic to be hotly debated in the weeks to come, however, due to recent events I doubt it will be mentioned at all.

As you know, Mathieu was slowly becoming the guy that everyone was secretly rooting for.  He came from a rough background but seemed like a pretty decent guy.  Following the 2011 season, Mathieu won the Bednarik award and was a Heisman finalist.  The news of his dismissal in August 2012 came as a shock to everyone who follows college football.  The shock was not over the fact that he had failed another drug test — most fans were aware that he had gotten into trouble for similar things before.  The shock came from the fact that one of college football’s most dynamic players was no longer going to be playing the game.

Mathieu apparently had a drug problem, but everything else about him said he was an okay “kid.”  Hearing that he had been dismissed seemed like not only a waste, but a real shame.

Typically, when I hear about a player getting dismissed for using drugs or smoking marijuana, I think nothing of it.  There is no suggestion of a real drug problem, or anything of the sort, and the truth of the matter is that its just another kid with a great opportunity making a stupid mistake.  They were given all the tools to make the right decision, but when it came time to walk-the-line or go party, these kids opted to go party.

While Mathieu’s situation may be the exact same, it certainly feels different.  After being dismissed from the team in August, Mathieu admitted to having a drug problem and that he used the drug to deal with many of the problems he was dealing with.  Whether that is a valid excuse or not, is a matter of opinion  however Mathieu did move to Houston where he started a drug treatment and rehab program.  He certainly gave the appearance that he really did have a problem and that he really did want to fix it.

There is also the fact that Mathieu could have done what most players do in this situation, and simply transferred to an FCS school.  Following his dismissal from the team in August, there was a lot of speculation that Mathieu might be heading to McNeese State, where he could enroll and play football immediately.  As I already stated, Mathieu opted for a drug rehab program in Houston.

Following his time in rehab, Mathieu re-enrolled at LSU and started taking classes.  He was working out on his own, and was apparently doing everything right.  He appeared to be on pace to possibly rejoin the LSU football program for the 2013 season.

It was at this time that he became the guy that everyone was secretly rooting for.  He wasn’t taking the easy way out (transferring to another school) and he wasn’t ignoring his drug problem.

No, he was back at LSU and was working hard for a shot (or a chance) at rejoining the team, even though there was a chance that LSU wouldn’t take him back.  It was, at least to him, apparently worth the effort / risk.  This is not something you see most (if any) football players do today.

Of course, then came yesterday’s news.  I had actually started writing my thoughts for this post when I had to look up something about Tyrann Mathieu.  When I did, the first link that appeared was:  Jordan Jefferson, Tyrann Mathieu, two other ex-Tigers arrested.

The article/report said:

October 25, 2012

BATON ROUGE, La. – Four former LSU football players, including quarterback Jordan Jefferson and former Heisman Trophy candidate Tyrann Mathieu, were arrested Thursday on drug-related charges.

Jefferson and Mathieu were charged with simple possession of marijuana. Karnell Hatcher was charged with second offense simple possession of marijuana, and Derrick Bryant was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

According to Baton Rouge police, patrol officers were dispatched to an apartment complex in Baton Rouge after a man, later identified as Jefferson, had tried to get into the complex through a security gate and had words with a maintenance worker.

Responding officers went to the apartment Jefferson was seen going into and they were let in by Mathieu.  While there, police said they detected a strong scent of marijuana.

Police said Mathieu consented to letting them into the apartment, according to police, and once inside the officers found a marijuana grinder, a digital scale and 10 bags of high-grade marijuana.

It does seem a little odd that Mathieu let the police inside the apartment, however, whats done is done.  I can only imagine that this is the end of the story for Mathieu and that any chance he had of rejoining the LSU football program is over.

Of course, stranger things have happened.

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