Tenacious. Opportunistic. Fierce. Fearless. Intelligent. All those words are often used to describe the real honey badger that lives in the prairies of Central and South Africa as well parts of India and Saudi Arabia.
Immature. Selfish. Stubborn. Careless. Damaged. All those words will now be used to describe the former Heisman runner-up and once promising cornerback from LSU who held the nicknamed the Honey Badger.
Tyrann Mathieu, LSU's former Honey Badger, was arrested last Thursday along with three other former LSU football players: Jordan Jefferson, Karnel Hatcher and Derrick Bryant. While Jordan and Mathieu were charger with lesser violations (simple possession of marijuana according to Baton Rouge Police) than the other two former players. This exemplifies the notion that Mathieu still hasn't learned from his previous mistakes. What's the saying: Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me?
Mathieu had been kicked off the football team earlier in the year for team violations. According to team officials it was for failing multiple marijuana tests, along with possible NCAA violations that involved Tyrann’s likeness used on flyers promoting Era Nation’s (a group of childhood friends who formed a rap group) CD release party. Mathieu says he no longer associates with those guys yet up until a week ago or so his Twitter handle (TM7_Era) included a shout out to Era Nation which has been subsequently shutdown.
After a one month stint at Houston’s John Lucas Rehabilitation Center, Tryann said he was going to continue to workout at the campus rec center (since he was banned from football facilities) and immerse himself in his studies and plan to come back for the 2013 football season. However, something went awfully wrong with his plan and now Mathieu finds himself not too far off from following in his father’s footsteps in more ways than he would probably would like.
Known as Cornbread, Darrin Hayes - Tyrann's paternal father, who was built similarly to Tryann and played a lot like Tryann. At 5-8 and 175 lbs, Hayes was recruited by Georgia Tech, UCLA, Tulane, Mississippi and Louisiana Tech but because he couldn't qualify academically Hayes enrolled at Alcorn State so he could practice with the team as he worked to quality for the other schools. In Sport’s Illustrated article profiling Tyrann Mathieu, Hayes’ former coach, the legendary Marino Casem, recalled Hayes playing the role of NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice while he was playing for Mississippi Valley State better than Jerry himself. Casem said Hayes didn’t have a lot of size but he had all the rest.
Darrin Hayes never played a down at Alcorn State due to being kicked out of school for having a gun on campus and soon fell into drug problems and was arrested and convicted for robbing a store shortly there after. After serving two years during which his daughter (one of Tryann’s three siblings from three different women) was rumored to have called her mother’s current boyfriend "daddy", he was sentenced to life without parole for second degree murder of the boyfriend. At the time Tyrann was two years old with a struggling mom and went to live with his grandparents and then on to his uncle Tryone and wife Shelia after his grandfather had passed away.
Now 18 years later, Mathieu seems to be actually following in his fathers footsteps in more ways than one. Once known as ‘lil Bread, Mathieu hasn’t stayed the course of his plan. He was given a second chance because he had talent. So much talent that he could have applied for the NFL draft as sophomore after a meteoric rise that saw him become the runner-up in the 2011 Heisman vote where he had a knack for preserving a win or having a prominent role in LSU's 13 wins during last year’s national title runner-up season. After he decided to come back for his junior year, Mathieu just needed to stay out of trouble, pass his classes and continue his Honey Badger role for LSU as he was projected to be late first round or second round draft pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Now that all seems to be for not. Failing multiple drug tests, getting kicked off of one of college football’s most dominant programs and now arrested. Mathieu hasn't seemed to learn from his mistakes or from the mistakes of his father, who like him had all the opportunity for a better life right in front him. Unlike the real honey badger who is intelligent, opportunistic, and fearless this honey badger is selfish, careless, and unintelligent. Mathieu, now more so than after he was kicked off the team, is facing a much tougher road and must break the cycle so he doesn't just make the same mistakes as his father; so he doesn't becomes his father.