How Long Until "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu Fails a Drug Test?

Categories: Morning Poll
Arizona Cardinals rookie Tyrann Mathieu has failed so many drug tests for pot that he lost count at one point.

His marijuana use is just about as well-known as his football-playing ability -- to the point that there was actually an ad placed in a recent New Times issue by a local smoke shop, inviting Mathieu to come on down.

See also:
-Tyrann Mathieu Responds to Smoke Shop Ad in New Times

Mathieu reportedly failed 10 drug tests while at LSU -- before he lost count. He reportedly told NFL coaches that he didn't actually know how many test he failed.

A Heisman Trophy finalist in 2011, Mathieu was kicked off the LSU team last season, reportedly after one of those failed drug tests, but Mathieu said he was going to rehab.

Two months later, in October, Mathieu was arrested for marijuana possession, but now, he swears he's beyond that.

Reports indicate that Mathieu's willing to sign a contract with the Cardinals that calls for weekly drug tests, so let's ask the burning question -- how long until this guy fails a drug test?

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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eric.nelson745 topcommenter

His chances of not getting caught are no better than 50-50. If he avoids getting nailed before the season starts, he should be fine for the term of his contract. Then he'll have made his millions, retire, and be a United Head for Hemp for the duration. Weed makes you feel good. Bottom line.


It's my hope that this kid is able to rise above the fray and recognize the opportunity he has.  People are capable of change.  Too often they don't.  Good Luck Honey Badger!  I'm rooting for your success!

Tara Oakes
Tara Oakes

I'm not saying Mathieu is making good choices and he needs to continue to be mentored by the right people, but give him a bit of a break. He seems to be suffering for severe anxiety issues and he started using weed as a remedy and it got out of hand- the worse the pressure got (from the weed issues) the worse the addiction became. He made a mistake by turning to weed to self medicate, but don't write the kid off. Taking such a negative outlook and condemning him to failure before he has a chance to restart his life here is part of the problem that leads to addiction issues. I hope he has support from his teammates and that he doesn't falter.


Based on his history, I'm surprised to learn that he hasn't failed one already.  The more interesting question, though, is how his marjuana use may intersect with Arizona's medical marijuana law.  Assuming he obtains a patient card (all it takes is a pulse to obtain a patient card so there shouldn't be any reason he couldn't get one).  A.R.S. 39-2813 states, "B. Unless a failure to do so would cause an employer to lose a monetary or licensing related benefit under federal law or regulations, an employer may not discriminate against a person in hiring, termination or imposing any term or condition of employment or otherwise penalize a person based upon either: 1. The person’s status as a cardholder. 2. A registered qualifying patient’s positive drug test for marijuana components or metabolites, unless the patient used, possessed or was impaired by marijuana on the premises of the place of employment or during the hours of employment."

So, if he is a cardholder and doesn't use marijuana during the hours of employment or on the Cardinals' facilities and isn't impaired during team meetings, practices or games,, the Cardinals and the NFL may violate A.R.S. 39-2813 if they suspend or fire him just for testing positive for marijuana matebolites.


Why ANY NFL team would consider this guy is far beyond me. The time and effort needed to try to keep him 'on track' just isn't worth any production he might come up with between suspensions. Let the clean kid who is a half second slower have the job.

Kevin Phillips
Kevin Phillips

@JohnQ.Public They could probably argue that they will lose money if he tests positive, since it damages his imagine, which could affect sales.


@Kevin Phillips They could argue that, but that isn't not one of the permitted exceptions under ARS 39-2813.  It only permits discrimination of the employer would lose money "under federal law or regulations."  I don't know what federal laws or regulations the Cardinals would lose money under, but I'm hard pressed to think of any.


A convenient stipulation under the CBA prohibits the team and the league from announcing which of the litany of banned substances the player tested positive for. By not distinguishing the drug, the player in turn commands the control over the public’s perception of the violation.

Essentially, the league is permitting the players to publicly plea down to a lesser, more socially acceptable banned substance such as marijuana or Adderall

Last year, Brandon Browner, Richard Sherman, Joe Haden, Aqib Talib and Eric Wright all contributed their failed tests to the ADHD medication.

The Arizona Cardinals drafting of Tyrann Mathieu creates another conundrum for the NFL. Peter King of Sports Illustrated reported that the Cardinals plan on testing the troubled LSU product on a weekly basis. The NFLPA will throw a fit over this, as the CBA prohibits such testing.

Article 39, section 6 of the CBA states:

"No Club may conduct its own individual testing for anabolic steroids and related substances or drugs of abuse or alcohol."

The NFLPA has little choice but to fight for the Honey Badger.

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