When he was let go from LSU, star cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was a hot commodity on the college football market. Like a popular, newly single girl in high school, Mathieu had a lot of folks thinking he’d be good for their program, but, like high school, no one bothered to think that maybe there was a reason his last setup didn’t work out. Like, say, a bad case of the crazies.
I was among those who thought it’d be a good idea to bring Mathieu into Commonwealth as a Wildcat. He was (is?) an electric player, a dynamic defensive presence, and a solid addition to any team. At least, on the field. He’d be a good guy to give a struggling defense a spark, and would also give the team some publicity that games don’t seem to provide.
I wondered why Joker, in desperate need of a player like Mathieu, didn’t reach out to the embattled star. I’m not wondering any more.
For those of you that missed the news last week, Mathieu was arrested for possessing at least ten bags of “high grade” marijuana. He’s now out of jail, but his time at LSU is almost certainly over.
But that doesn’t stop other teams from trying to pick him up for next season, and beyond. ESPN’s Jemele Hill said that there’s a very real possibility that a college or pro team could gamble on Tyrann’s future career:
[I]t wouldn’t surprise me if someone took another chance on Matthieu, either in college football or professionally.
Should that team be Kentucky? At this point, I think the answer has to be “no way.”
Reasonable minds could differ on this. There’s no doubt that the young man could always turn over a new leaf and change his bad habits. There’s also no doubt, though, that the publicity he would bring the University at this point would be overwhelmingly negative. It’s unlikely that folks around the SEC would view Kentucky as giving Mathieu a second chance, but rather that UK is so desperate to win that they’ll take any player, regardless of prior bad acts. True, we are desperate for a win, but what price are we willing to pay?
I hope that the answer, wherever it is, stops short of the team’s integrity. Great Wildcat players like Randall Cobb, Danny Trevathan, and Andre Woodson (just from the last few years) do a great job of representing the University with high character, and fans are rightly proud of their examples. Are a couple wins more important than that? Even in basketball, where fans rightly have a higher standard for talent, Kentucky has been lucky to have guys with character as strong as their talent.
So if Joker went out and tried to recruit Tyrann Mathieu for the 2013 season, would you be okay with it? In a bigger sense than just Mathieu, are fans willing to target any player that gives the team a better chance to win? Joker’s made a lot of poor decisions in his tenure, but I have to believe that the apparent decision not to go after Mathieu (I have no idea whether he did or not, but I never heard anything about him reaching out) is the right one.
What say you?