Sept. 14, 2012
-- Less than one month ago Tyrann Mathieu, a 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, who is also known as the Honey Badger, was dismissed from the LSU football team for failed drug tests. He’s not the first high level college athlete to get kicked off his team for a violation of team rules, and he certainly won’t be the last. In fact, multiple schools started this season with players suspended for violations of team rules ranging from alcohol and drug citations to burglary or assault arrests.
According to Arrest Nation, since the beginning of 2012, Oklahoma State University leads in athlete arrests and citations for major Universities with nine to date. They are followed closely by the University of Georgia, Iowa and Washington State all with seven arrests/citations to date. Usually when a player is dismissed from their team for repeated violations, they transfer to a lower division school where they are immediately eligible to compete in hope of keeping their professional aspirations alive.
This is where Tyrann Mathieu’s decisions following his dismissal set him apart. He could have enrolled and become immediately eligible at a lower division school, which would have had the potential to set him up for the 2013 NFL draft. Instead, he decided to go to Houston and check himself into the Right Step recovery center run by highly respected former NBA player and coach John Lucas, who battled drug and alcohol problems during his career.
Just this week Tyrann returned to LSU and enrolled in classes as a student. It is believed that if Mathieu stays out of trouble and keeps his grades up, he will have a chance to rejoin his former team in 2013. By taking the long road, versus the expedient one chosen by most people in his position, Tyrann has dramatically increased his odds of having both a happy and productive life, as well as a lucrative professional career.
Sadly, most people in similar situations are more focused on their goals than they are on the process necessary to achieve their goals. Mathieu said, “I’m still going to train and work out really hard, but it’s not going to be my focus right now. Instead, I’m going to stay humble, stay grounded and view football from a different angle this time around so I can appreciate it more when I do get the chance to play it again.” Based on this quote, it appears that Mathieu fully understands the importance of focusing on the process now.
There are no guarantees that he will be able to stay on the path he is on, but by choosing this road he affords himself the best chance of living his dreams. He will also undoubtedly set a new precedent for dealing with serious life issues and serve as an inspiration to many others if he does succeed.
Hopefully, things will play out the way he plans and he will end up better off than he ever was before as a person and a player.
You can follow Sam on Twitter: @SuperTaoInc