Friday morning when reports surfaced of a major announcement regarding the LSU Football program, the rumors began to circle. First, the speculation of what would be the meaning of the press conference arose, and then word of a suspension or dismissal came to surface. Tyrann Mathieu was the first name to come to mind.
I’ve heard so many come down on the New Orleans native for failing repeated drug tests, but I don’t hear anyone talking about the people that failed him. Let me repeat something: Mathieu repeatedly failed drug tests. It doesn’t take long to figure out that if you fail multiple drug tests there is a greater problem at hand.
When a player has trouble with technique or understanding a pass coverage, times is made to correct those issues. But when it comes to off the field problems, time is made to correct those issues as well, as long as long as the player in question can get back on the field as soon as possible.
In a recent article profiling Urban Meyer, Wright Thompson wrote of a phone call Meyer had with another coach, discussing a problem player. The article stated:
“The first year at Bowling Green, Meyer tells him, he’d have cut his losses. His fifth year at Florida, when he needed to win every game, he’d have kept him on the team.”
For those of you keeping score at home the LSU Tigers are one of those teams that need to win every game. Playing in the SEC is like sitting at the high stakes table in Las Vegas with your entire life savings on the line. If you win, they’ll build statues for you. If you lose, it won’t be long until the moving trucks are at your home.
LSU knew Mathieu had a problem, but couldn’t do much about it – he helped win football games. Why was he only suspended one game last fall for a failed drug test? Probably because if he were suspended two games it would’ve meant missing a November 5th meeting with the Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa , a game with title hopes on the line.
Make no mistake about it. Les Miles is not a disciplinarian for dismissing Mathieu, nor was LSU standing up for its integrity (which by the way I am going to puke if I hear one more analyst try to convince me otherwise). No, it was done because the rules say if you fail x amount of drug tests you receive y punishment.
If there were no punishment for the failed drug tests, Mathieu would still be at LSU for the same reason he will have no trouble finding a new home: he can help win football games.