Regular readers know that I am not much of a fan of sports, but my younger son is. If you averaged his enthusiasm and mine, you’d end up with at least a “rabid” rating. That should tell you something.
Today, LSU cut Tyrann Mathieu, the “Honey Badger” from their team. He’s had suspensions in the past for drug use, so the suspicion is obvious. My son was disappointed, to say the very least; the Honey Badger autographed football we gave him last Christmas sits on the head of his bed. Let’s just say that he had a bad day.
So, here’s what I’d like to say:
Dear Les Miles,
I know it’s tough to cut a team member who is an outstanding athlete but can’t follow the rules. Your decision, based on the information that is available, was the right one, tough though it was. We’ve seen too much damage caused by college athletic programs that turn a blind eye to misbehavior. Thank you for taking the road less travelled – the right road.
Please share the following with your players.
You get a lot of attention because of your talent on the field. Some people even call you heroes, although that is a bit of a stretch. Soldiers are heroes; cops are heroes; firemen and all those who put service to others above self. Nevertheless, people want to be seen with you. People want your autograph. People like to talk about you. Sportswriters like to feature you.
However, this attention and adulation is not a right – it’s a privilege, and with every right or privilege comes a responsibility. Among the responsibilities is the need to follow the rules. Everybody needs to follow the rules, and those who are in the spotlight more than anybody else.
You have no God given right to get a pass if you do drugs, fight dogs, or whatever. You will face the consequences. Among those consequences is the fact that you let your team down, you let your family down and you let your fans down. Most people don’t get to have fans. If it is your desire to be like “most people,” you can make it happen real fast. You can go from the guy people cheered for and had high hopes for to a flat-out disappointment with just a few stupid moves.
John Wayne – if you don’t know who he is, ask your parents or grandparents – summed it up. “Life is tough; it’s tougher if you’re stupid.”