McNeese State head coach Matt Viator, right. (American Press)
LSU head coach Les Miles pauses while speaking at a news conference on Friday. Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu was kicked off LSU's football team for breaking an athletic department rule, a blow to the Tigers' national championship hopes three weeks before their season opener. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Sunday, August 12, 2012 8:13 PM
Here's hoping that two rights can help a young man correct a wrong.
LSU and head coach Les Miles did the right thing by throwing Tyrann Mathieu off the football team.
Having already been given a wakeup call at LSU, Mathieu simply seems to have only hit the snooze button.
He was suspended one game last year and was booted from the team last Friday for what has been reported as substance abuse.
Given a second chance in Baton Rouge, Mathieu simply messed up again. By all accounts he is a good kid with a bad habit.
Let's hope that becomes a correctable error.
While the highly ranked Tigers' season won't go completely up in smoke with Matthieu's eviction, his future pro career sure takes a hit.
No longer will he be the center of a national love affair like last year, when he rode big plays on defense and special teams into a surprise run toward the Heisman Trophy.
He finished the voting fifth thanks mainly to his story, catchy nickname and the Tigers' success.
Nicknamed the Honey Badger, Mathieu was a great tale of a young man who came from nowhere to overachieve despite his smallish size. He showed us all just what hard work could do.
Now comes the hard part.
Mathieu's reputation has taken a big hit, but this is not the end of the world.
Friday evening he talked to McNeese State head football coach Matt Viator and is believed to be considering the Cowboys as a place to resurrect his career and rehab his reputation.
It is important that if given the chance, Viator lets Mathieu join.
It too would be the right thing to do.
This is not just because of football. No question the Honey Badger makes the Cowboys better.
There were at least three games when Mathieu's big plays turned the tide for LSU. First against Oregon then with touchdown punt returns against Arkansas and Georgia when the Tigers offense struggled early.
Without Mathieu, any one of those games could have been lost.
So his football skills are not in question, but this is more about the person.
As an educator and a human, Viator has the ability to help turn a young person's life around. That should be more important than Xs and Os, or even wins and losses.
Too often that gets lost in the world of college athletics.
Last year Viator took a chance and let local product Janzen Jackson on his team after the cornerback had been kicked off Tennessee's club. He did it with a heavy heart.
Jackson went on to play the year out and then to the NFL, where he is trying to make the New York Giants' roster.
That was the right move then and letting Mathieu on the Cowboys would be the right move now.
Viator doesn't want to become the Father Flanagan of college football, nor does he want to turn McNeese into some halfway house for troubled players, but he does have the chance to impact a young man's life in a positive way.
Mathieu deserves a second chance and Lake Charles would be a perfect fit, a place where he can be out of the spotlight and forget being the Honey Badger. He needs to work on just being Tyrann.
Don't get me wrong, Viator must give Mathieu a clear Honey-do list, or at the least a Honey-don't one.
The message must be clear, you have to be a part of the team, work hard and stay clean. The rest is up to Mathieu. Only he can make this work.
There is no doubt the road ahead for Mathieu is a rough one, but it is also clear.
Some tough love from LSU seemed appropriate, as does some open arms at McNeese.
Jim Gazzolo is American Press managing sports editor. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted By: Chris On: 8/12/2012
Title: Absolutely take Tyrann
This has shown him that he can as easy as God gives him God can take away. This article was perfect in it's statement that, LSU did a great job letting him go and now Mcneese can have a great impact in Tyrann's life by accepting him. The by-product of this is on the field........WE GET THE HONEY BADGER!!!!!!!!!
Posted By: Not interested On: 8/11/2012
Title: Keep on walking
Viator is a good coach and individual, but he can't fix everyone who is broken. I say pass on Mathieu and play football with the team you know and trust.
Posted By: Silvin On: 8/11/2012
Title: Tax payer
That is great if you can help these young men!!!