Former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. (Associated Press)
Former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson. (Associated Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, November 01, 2012 11:01 AM
Tyrann Mathieu’s rise was so meteoric, his fall so sudden, we must remind ourselves he is only 20 years old. Not old enough to buy a beer.
Less than a year ago he was a Heisman Trophy finalist, the toast of Baton Rouge, a bright star on a team that seemed to be the inevitable BCS football champs.
Now, he’s off the team and out on bond.
His arrest last week on marijuana charges seemed to shock people when it should not have. Mathieu was booted from the LSU team before the 2012 season because of violation of team rules — drug issues were suspected from the start — and he kept people guessing as to his plans. Transfer to a smaller school and play another season of college ball immediately? Sit out the season and beg for another chance at playing for LSU? Everyone seemed to want what was best for the junior defensive back, a young man with a winning smile.
His decision to stay at LSU and sit out a year came with a five-minute rehab program and an apartment in Baton Rouge where he could hang with his same ol’ crowd. Small wonder, then, that when the cops came knocking at his door a week ago, they found a pile of pot and the final nail in Mathieu’s football coffin.
What’s amazing is that the four young men arrested in Mathieu’s apartment were all LSU football players, none older than 22. How did they think that they could fly under the radar? Did they believe they were so entitled that folks would look the other way at their transgressions?
What led police to Mathieu’s apartment was that former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson, who was out on bond from assault charges last year, forced his way through a security gate at the apartment complex to visit Mathieu. Did he think the rules — that someone must let you in at the security gate — did not apply to him? Apparently so. When the police trailed him to Mathieu’s apartment, the four were caught with the pot.
All people of good will should want what is best for these four young people. They should want them to develop some character; apparently character development evaded them at LSU. They should want them to pay their penalties and grow from their experience, become better men.
To that end, the greatest gift they could get from the courts is fair and just treatment and the sure knowledge that people must pay for their crimes. Judge Chip Moore gave that gift to Jefferson this week when he sent him to the slammer for violating the terms of his bond. That’s tough love — and what may be best for these young men.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.