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August 11, 2012

College Football without The Honey Badger

Thanks to Les Miles and the LSU sports information department for waiting until August 10 to drop this bomb on us.  Had they announced the dismissal of Tyrann "the Honey Badger" Mathieu from the team four days earlier, on August 6, generations of LSU fans would be confused and possibly miss out on millions of dollars on game shows when asked "What major bomb was dropped on August 6?"  Luckily the correct and only answer to that is still "The U.S. dropped the Atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan marking the end of World War II."  I should also extend a personal thanks because this year August 6 marked 24 years of blissful marriage to my wife, Kim.

Some that are reading this stopped in the first line at the word "waiting" and are still asking "Bob, how do you know that Miles and the sports information department waited?"  The answer to that is clear, in retrospect.  Tyrann Mathieu, probably the most interesting person in college football these days,  was not invited to be a part of SEC media days.  Practices were closed to the media.  When asked about how Tyrann would be utilized this year the coaches gave some sort of vague "we might put him just about anywhere in the defensive backfield".  And even before August 10, Coach Miles mentioned that freshmen would get more opportunities to play in the defensive backfield this year.  That last one caught my attention but, at the time, I thought "well, surely we aren't going to keep the starters in the entire game against the Towson State."  The signs were there that something was up but; I think  most of us that noticed thought that maybe LSU was trying to tone down and polish up the image of the Honey Badger;  priming him for a better shot at the Heisman this year.  

Let's face it once he moved on to the NFL, Mathieu was a lock for future Androgel/Testosterone commercials or that "most interesting man in the world" commercial .  The Honey Badger was a game changer that provided college football fans with over-the-top moments last year.  My favorite moment was in the Oregon game when he stripped the ball, recovered it and walked in for a touchdown.  That was the best way to start an almost perfect season.  My second favorite moment was at West Virginia when he tipped and caught a pass and nearly scored a touchdown. 

I read in an article from The Sporting News yesterday that no one told Tyrann that they loved him until he was 5 years old.  That's messed up.  I hope Tyrann gets the message that Tiger Nation loves him and not just because of the highlight moments.  We love the fact that Tyrann brought a passion to the game and was an example of what happens when you have an enduring faith that you can make things happen.  The way he made things happen on the field gives the rest of us hope that we can fight through our struggles.  

If the Honey Badger were a Hollywood celebrity, he would just check into the Betty Ford clinic and be back by the beginning of the season.  But he is just poor young man from New Orleans.  Surely someone had mentioned to Tyrann that if he tested positive for drugs that he would be kicked off the team.  Undoubtedly someone sat Mr. Mathieu down and said plainly that if he did not totally quit drugs that he could not play LSU football ever again.  To have knowingly given all of that up, his passion, for drugs suggests that Mathieu may have a serious problem.  Is LSU and the rest of the sporting world handling this kind of problem in the right way?  Where are those people that claim that drug addiction is a disease?  By the way, I am not one of those people.  I think doing drugs is a choice and very different from say, getting cancer.  On the other hand, Mathieu brought lots of money to those that make money off of college football.  Don't those people have a moral responsibility? Shouldn't someone provide an all expenses paid trip to a reputable drug addiction program?  It cannot be an LSU booster.  But honestly, drug abuse or alcohol abuse is not like other crimes.  Fighting, theft, inappropriate touching all by nature have immediate and direct victims.  Drug abuse often leads to others becoming victims but the person in all cases directly being hurt is the drug user himself.  It is hard for me to see the Honey Badger as a victim but his actions have proven to be very self-destructive.  He did not beat any body up, he didn't sexually abuse anybody, and he didn't steal anything and somebody not connected to LSU, that loves college football, and that has more money than I do should put this guy through drug rehab and once declared drug free the Honey Badger should be allowed to play football for LSU. 

LSU will be fine without Mr. Mathieu.  It was not too many seasons ago that the big story was that a young cornerback named Morris Claiborne was going to be "picked on" because no one was going to throw a football in Patrick Peterson's direction.  Trust me, LSU has very capable defensive backs with or without the Honey Badger.  LSU also has capable return men and big time play makers. Tyrann Mathieu is a special football player.  Mathieu will be missed very much but; by nature, college football only allows us to count on having a great player four and more often than not, only three years.  All major college programs are constantly in reload mode.  And Les Miles has always kept the cupboard of talent in LSU football filled and overflowing.  But now is the time for LSU players to step up and fill a huge void left in the wake of the Honey Badger.


Anonymous said...

Great article.

Anonymous said...

I loved watching the honey badger play. He will be missed by all Tiger Fans. It was a lot of pressure for young guy who had been labeled too small. In the end he should be labeled as not a good team mate. He thought of himself before he thought of the consequences to his team his school and his coaches. It hurts me to say this because anyone who has seen the honey badger play loves to see him make the big plays. Maybe this will help him sit back and say what was I thinking. Maybe he won't end up another magic Johnson, mike Tyson, O J Simpson. We don't need another athlete we put our heart and soul into rooting for a great athlete just to see him become a drug addict, aids patient or spend his life in court and prison. RIP old honey badger. Get your mind on doing what is right and lets see you play your heart out once again

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