Oh, Honey Badger.
If you think I’m talking about an actual animal, then this column might not be for you.
By saying “Honey Badger,” I’m referring to Tyrann Mathieu, the former LSU football player, who was kicked off the team last week for breaking team rules.
One can only assume what these “team rules” were that he broke, but there has been some speculation that it had to do with drugs.
Regardless, Mathieu just couldn’t wait until he decided to enter the draft to do what he wanted. Mathieu was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy last year and by far, one of LSU’s best players. Finding out last week that he had been kicked off the team came as surprising, but not shocking, news. Mathieu was suspended last year for one game for using syntheic marijuana. My guess is that the LSU coaches have been dealing with lots of issues like this from Mathieu for a while and they finally had enough.
There are rules, and people have to follow them. Everyone does. Student-athletes, even almost-Heisman-Trophy winners, have to follow rules. Now Mathieu, who is eligible for the draft after this season (his junior year), can only hope he’ll still get drafted as high as he would have had he been a starter with LSU this year.
There are rumors that Mathieu is going to play for McNeese University, but I find that hard to believe since he has to play Division-II or lower in order to play this year. Otherwise, he’ll have to sit out the year. Mathieu has made numerous statements that he plans to enter the draft after his junior season, so it wouldn’t make sense for him to sit out a season.
So what can we learn from all this? Simple. Follow the rules.
Just do what you’re supposed to do. Don’t do drugs. Don’t get into trouble with the law. Don’t drink before it’s legal. Don’t ever drink and drive. Don’t get into fights.
Just go to class, study, practice hard, play harder, have a good attitude and get a degree. You might be thinking, “That doesn’t sound like too much fun.” Well, first of all, staying out of trouble is the most fun you can have. The reason is because being in trouble is the least amount of fun you can have. Being looked at as a good person and still having a spot on your high school or college team is a lot of fun.
When I was a college athlete, the most fun thing I was able to say was, “I play college basketball.” I thought I was as cool as they come. But seriously, anyone playing sports should feel cool. It automatically shows you know how to manage your time. It means you’re talented; it means you follow the rules.
I really hope every local athlete around here sees the situation with the Honey Badger as a learning experience. Don’t let your talent go to waste for even a day. Don’t allow bad influences into your life. Stand up and do the right thing so that your future can be as good as possible.
(Chrissy Smith is Sports Editor of the Slidell Independent, and a former college athlete. She can be reached at email@example.com.)