Tyrann Mathieu has had his fair share of problems in his young career. There was once a time when his misdeeds were the subject of a multitude of editorials in newspapers, magazines and internet-based publications. Primary among his ills was a highly-publicized marijuana problem that basically forced him to leave the LSU football program and declare for National Football League draft early.
Though it was only four years ago, it seems like it was only yesterday. If a 24-hour day is used as a metaphor for his career to this point, then his maturity growth just happened a couple hours.
Lately, Mathieu has been much more willing to speak out on issues he feels are worthy of his time and Twitter characters. Indeed, it has been quite a sight to see this once precocious individual grow to a man of substance.
One of his more publicized stances was the PSA he did for PETA, in which he sat in a car with the windows up in the middle of a hot Arizona summer day to show that pets should not be left in cars.
A man who once seemed like your typically selfish millennial has shown noticeable growth and conscientiousness since his weed issues four years ago. Some of the things he has said are as simple as a short tweet, such as the one tweeted back in January in response to political commentator and actress Stacey Dash's comments regarding her comments about the exclusion of black actors from the Oscars.
"Stacey Dash hasn't been the same since Kanye dropped her off in the video," he Tweeted, referring to the video for the West single "All Falls Down" in which Dash appeared.
Though that treat was worth a chuckle, Mathieu has been far more eloquent and measured in his response to other issues. After failing 10 drug tests as an LSU Tiger, his outspokenness has placed him in a spotlight of notoriety that he seems all too willing to take advantage.
Last week, former New Orleans Saints All-Pro Defensive End Will Smith was killed in what is being described as an incident of road rage. Mathieu, who plays for the Arizona Cardinals but grew up in New Orleans, took to the digital realm to discuss his feelings on the matter, black-on-black violence and the culture that tells kids it's cool to get high and kill people.
Though he had been given major props for speaking out on the situation in his city, Mathieu has since reported that he has gotten death threats from the prime suspect in the Smith murder, Cardell Hayes.
He spoke of the experience with Rich Eisen on NFL Network. T
Because when I came out yesterday and called him a coward, I received death threats from guys in New Orleans—from his relatives. And I'm thinking to myself...'What do you guys want from me? I'm only here to speak the truth.'
I think it was one of those situations where he was really at the wrong place at the wrong time, and he bumped into the wrong person. I know the guy personally and, Rich, it's not really for me to put his personal business on air.
Although no one would consider him to be an activist of any sort at this point, Mathieu has expressed a willingness to go on record and speak loudly on things he believes in. In a world of scared clones and yes-men, I have to admit this is somewhat refreshing to see, when measured against the perceived selfishness of some of his peers.