In the last week, Tyrann Mathieu has been dismissed from the LSU football team and subsequently entered a rehab center. While much attention is focused on the "Honey Badger" this issue should be shining a brighter light on the larger issue. Drug use is rampant among college students, likely carrying over to student athletes.
According to Fox 8, via The Associated Press and ABCNews.com:
Tyrone Mathieu says his son is committed to restoring his health and won't play football until he is confident that his rehab is complete. That may rule out the possibility of Mathieu transferring to a school at the FCS level and playing this season, after which he would be eligible for the NFL draft.
Mathieu's recent issues with drugs paint an ugly, but largely underrepresented picture of drug-use among college athletes.
You would be hard-pressed to convince a wide majority that Mathieu is an outlier. The extent to which he was using might be outside of the norm, but the fact remains that there are likely plenty other college football players who are using drugs.
There is little debate about the accessibility of marijuana and other drugs on college campuses. Drugs are everywhere and the chance to make a mistake is widely in the open.
The use of questioning whether or not marijuana should be legalized is not part of this discussion and should be left out. That's a debate for the legal system to sort out. As of now, it's simple. Recreational use of marijuana is illegal.
So while the health concerns associated with marijuana are present, the majority issue is a willingness to break the law. If a player is willing to break the law because they don't agree with it, should a college coach believe they won't be willing break his rules?
While players may not agree with it, it's something they need to accept. And if caught, they need to accept the consequences and face whatever discipline they might face.
College football players need to see Mathieu as an example of what can happen if they engage in that behavior.
Mathieu has the opportunity to be a great leader and advocate against this behavior in college football. The decision of going to rehab and likely sitting out a season is a big step in the right direction. It shows that Mathieu is taking the issue seriously.
This story shouldn't be followed simply as a Tyrann Mathieu issue, but a drug issue where Tyrann Mathieu is the example.