Found October 26, 2012 on BeyondUSports:
PLAYERS: Tyrann Mathieu
TEAMS: LSU Tigers
TM7: Disappointment Among Black Community in Failed AthletesAs I depart from my usual position of silence on race dynamics (being a strong advocate of diversity and unity across all racial, social, cultural, and economic lines), there is a compelling angle to the story of Tyrann Mathieu from inside the black community that I would feel remiss not share with Beyond U Sports. Acknowledging the existence of an overall or general disappointment in Tyrann Mathieu’s behavior, and inspired by a number of conversations and reports on the matter, I’d like to discuss what’s behind the overwhelming disappointment blacks feel in what is ultimately becoming of Tyrann Mathieu. When you look at TM7, you see a guy that a year ago (in a relative sense) pretty much had the world in the palm of his hands. One of the nation’s biggest playmakers, a Heisman candidate, and a media darling, you looked at Mathieu and saw the potential for a bright and shiny future. Then lightning strikes, he’s dismissed from the LSU football team, and his story is told to millions. A darling to the masses and a true talent on the gridiron, Mathieu garnered the sympathy, prayers, and support of college football fans everywhere. He would embark upon turning his life around in an effort to return to the football field. Early indications pointed to the Honey Badger being well on his way to rehabbing his character and making a return to football, whether that would have meant returning to LSU or entering the NFL draft. But just when things seemed to be looking up, he’s arrested; and now his inability to control his affiliation with drugs is what he’s known for. photo credit: lsureveille.com As news broke, reactions began to pour in from television, radio, and social networks. The overriding sentiment about Tyrann Mathieu regarding a football field is that he is finished. Unique upon these reactions are of those from within the black community who support black athletes, but are beyond tired of seeing them fail. Here’s why. In the black community, athletics predominate. Role models are not always found in corporate or political sectors of society, but rather from the sports and entertainment industries with whom many supporters are more easily able to identify. African-Americans are protective of black athletes and have a sense of urgency for them to succeed because there is not statistically a favorable outlook for young black males in other professional arenas. Sports has made millionaires and provided for the families of thousands of blacks who, if not for athletic ability, may not have been able to avail themselves of the economic prowess and influence available to them as professional athletes. The everyday African-American sports fan sees Tyrann Mathieu, a Heisman finalist from a year ago, as one who had gained admiration from the college football world and mainstream media. They know him to be of the select few who stood to secure he and his family’s future (through football, endorsements, etc). Many desire the athletic gifts/charisma of a guy like the Honey Badger. But he becomes another tragic story merely because he didn’t have his house in order. Windows of opportunity of the proportion that Tyrann Mathieu faced are not everyday occurrences and don’t very often present themselves. And now, instead of being in a position to improve the environment of his loved ones, Mathieu may be relegated to the very environment that he doesn’t appear prepared to exist in without getting into trouble. For many African-Americans who were appreciative of what Mathieu had already achieved, it’s inconceivable that he would seemingly flush such an opportunity down the drain. Paging Myron Rolle. BeyondU Sports BeyondU Sports - Best College Sports Blog Site
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