It’s called a “perp walk,” that stroll for the media cameras from police station to squad car that the famously incarcerated are required to make.
It’s with a perp walk Thursday that Tyrann Mathieu’s hopes of ever playing football for LSU again came to a crashing thud.
No senior day jog onto the field in Tiger Stadium. Probably no day in the future when you can even imagine Mathieu being introduced on the field to a standing ovation, the kind he used to get when he was making one of those jaw-dropping, game-changing plays of his.
Once, Mathieu’s football career seemed as high grade as you could imagine.
Now his name has been linked forever to the “high grade” marijuana Baton Rouge Police say they found in his apartment.
There was hope that after a stint in a Houston rehab center and his re-enrollment at LSU as a regular student that Mathieu could rejoin the Tigers next fall. Certainly that was his goal.
But his demons got in the way once again. This time, instead of throwing up a road block, they’ve erected a Great Wall of China, with Mathieu on one side and his No. 7 LSU football jersey on the other.
Certainly this is a nation of second, third and fourth chances, especially when it comes to those who entertain us with their talents.
But Mathieu isn’t a musician or movie star who will continue to get chances to perform as long as he remains bankable. He’s supposed to be a member of a team, a team (LSU) that can’t afford to take a chance on him anymore.
This has to have completely torn it between the Honey Badger and the Tigers, though there have been plenty of indications that he wasn’t going to be allowed back even before police opened the door to Mathieu’s apartment and were invited in to search what turned out to be a scene from a Cheech and Chong movie.
LSU coach Les Miles had been quizically noncommital about Mathieu’s possible future with the Tigers, but that could have been written off as more of Miles’ pretzel-shaped quotes.
Evidently, Miles was just trying to be nice. He has given every indication short of saying “He will never play for us again, ever” that Mathieu is done at LSU.
Miles really has no other choice. He has to regard Mathieu as he would a player who has suffered a career-ending injury — one in Mathieu’s case that is self-inflicted.
As for the other three former LSU players involved in the case — Jordan Jefferson, Derrick Bryant and Karnell Hatcher — one can only be similarly saddened. Anyone can make a mistake, get their lives off track. But they are setting their lives and reputations back immensely. Possession with intent to distribute, as Bryant was charged with, is a stain that may never scrub off.
By association the four have also tainted the LSU football program. But only one had a chance to still be part of that program.
Now that chance is gone.