Home Featured SBM Sports: Do Tony Farmer, Tyrann Mathieu, or Dez Bryant deserve our sympathy?

SBM Sports: Do Tony Farmer, Tyrann Mathieu, or Dez Bryant deserve our sympathy?

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Just this summer, we have seen athletes arrested and convicted on a variety of charges. My first reaction, like many of you, is to say “tough break” and keep it moving. If those athletes can’t manage to stay out of trouble, then who cares, right? The sheer number of cases forced me to reconsider my position. I don’t condone law-breaking, but I do find sympathetic aspects to these stories.

High School – Tony Farmer



Farmer’s case represents this dichotomy perfectly. In one shocking video, we see a man repeatedly attacking a defenseless woman then the exact moment his innocence is lost.

I didn’t know anything about Farmer before his case made national news. He was convicted of assault and kidnapping his ex-girlfriend, then later violating a no-contact order by sending harassing text and voice messages. He was also considered one of the top 100 high school basketball prospects in the country; vast potential squandered with the reading of his verdict and sentencing.

I’m glad the victim didn’t suffer any lasting physical harm, and I believe Farmer received the proper verdict in court. I am also saddened when I watch him realize his dream is over.

I played high school basketball, and I thought I was good. I still vividly remember standing in the locker room after my last game as a senior. I wasn’t playing in college. My career was done. My path was determined because I didn’t practice enough, Farmer’s because of an indefensible mistake. The end result is the same, and that is why I empathize with Tony Farmer.

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College – Tyrann Mathieu

The “Honey Badger” isn’t facing jail time, but he has a similar fall from grace. Mathieu was a rising senior star of the LSU football team. He was regarded as the best defensive player in college, and was poised for another successful season at LSU, a shot at the national title, and a first round draft selection. After a reported “violation of team rules,” Mathieu is considering taking the year off from football, or transferring to a small school before trying to enter the NFL.

Mathieu is too talented not to get at least a tryout with an NFL team, but the multimillion dollar playing contract and endorsement deals are now a long way off and could be gone forever. Mathieu was kicked off the LSU football team for failing a drug test. After missing a game last season for the same offense, this was the last straw. I trashed Mathieu for potentially costing himself a lucrative career because he couldn’t lay off of recreational drugs and alcohol, but then I thought about the tests I may have failed if they were administered randomly through college.

How many “sunglasses and Advil” days did you have after a long night in college? Mathieu has to take responsibility for his mistakes, but I have to feel for him because he made the same mistakes 99% of us did in undergrad.

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Since being kicked off the team, Mathieu has entered drug rehab and shown remorse to those he let down. I’m rooting for Mathieu to get his life together because he’s a 20-year-old with lots of growing left to do.

Professional – Dez Bryant

Nope. Can’t root for anyone who beats his mother down.

In all honesty, I hope Bryant can figure out how to manage his life off the field. It has been unraveling for a couple years. He was suspended for a year in college for lying about a permissible lunch meeting with Deion Sanders. An overreaction to an understandable mistake given the wide-ranging NCAA rules and bylaws. Did you know the NCAA stipulates what you can feed a visiting recruit? Serving a bagel is ok…lord help you if you serve cream cheese with it. (This stupid rule was passed just a few years ago, and changed, thankfully, last year)On top of that, Miami Dolphins management asked Bryant if his mother was a prostitute while interviewing with teams before the NFL draft.

Bryant hasn’t had the best circumstances or shown the best judgment, but it’s hard to grow into an adult with the media, blogosphere, and irrational fans watching.

Where do you stand, SBM Readers? Do you have any sympathy for these athletes? Does it matter whether the athlete is in high school, college, or the pros? Each is paying for poor decisions in his own way, but are you pulling for them to get it together (whether that be on or off the field)? My views have changed over time, have yours?

Comment(25)

  1. I couldn't finish watching Tony Farmer beat on that girl….disgusting. I don't understand why anyone should have their transgressions overlooked just because they have an athletic gift or otherwise. Young black athletes on the rise, in particular, need to know that there are consequences for the things they do outside of the field/court. Yea, it may all seem like it's unrelated but no one wants bad press for their school/association.

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  2. Tony Farmer looks as though he should have been tested many years ago. Zero fu*ks given to him and his situation.

    "he mad the same mistakes 99% of us did in undergrad." Here's the thing about that, 99% of y'all werent playing for a top D1 football program. Mathieu obviously didn't have anyone looking out for him in the athletic department. I had a couple of teammates who always got the heads up about the "random" piss test that was coming up (it was always the same two girls every time! Somebody knew something!) also, there is a window of time in which he should have done his recreational drugs: immediately after the season ended – March. Any other time, all bets are off. This is just what I've heard….Slightly feel bad for him.

    You want to fight the woman who bought you you first pair of cleats and cheered you on during Pop Warner and HS football games!? My mom gets on my nerves sometime too, but that's beyond too far! He should lose his job and receive the maximum punishment. Zero fu*ks given to his situation as well!

  3. Tony Farmer

    He is old enough To know that he shouldn’t be putting his hands on a woman like that. He had one chance already. The girl already had a restraining order against him so it clearly wasn’t the first time. He could have killed her. He went out of his way to find her and beat her. Maybe jail will teach him to keep his hands to himself. There he can fight real men since he’s so angry. We have to start teaching our young men how to respect woman, and stop giving tryig to cut them slack when they don’t. It’s not like he slapped her in the middle of an argument left and didn’t returned. Then maybe just anger management and community service. He went to find her, broke a restraining order , threatened her via text and beat her like a grown man.

    Tyrann Mathiue

    I slightly feel sorry for him. But at the same time part of being a young adult and a man is taking responisibilty for your actions. I don’t fault him for making a mistake but that doesn’t stop him from having to face consequences. He knows the rule for athlets, he brokers those, he put drugs before his career. I’m happy he realized he has a problem and is in rehab.

    Dez Bryant

    No pitty for men beating their mothers. He’s lucky his mother isn’t crazy, because if me or my brother tired to fight my mom she would choke us out, or pull a knife on us lol she’s not going down easy.

    1. Y'all women piss me off about "We have to start teaching our young men how to respect woman" , but we live in a society where disrespectful men are rewarded (whether they have money making potential or not) with coitus with women, therefore you beget more disrespectful men. The equation is very simple, I might add.

      And, this phrase "We have to start teaching our young men how to respect woman" implies that it is okay for women to disrespect men because men are more dominant & privleged.

      So if you meant people need to respect each other, you need to say "people need to respect each other", otherwise your comment leads me to believe that you are a "misandrist"

  4. Joe, this was your best article yet. Talked about three great "discussions"

    Tony Famar, he had a shot at the league or atleast playing ball over seas and getting the free education. I don't know what his beef was with old girl but the fact that he actually threaten her after the fact shows not only that he can't control his temper but his status as a star player got to his head. His victim actually spoke on his behalf on some Rihanna tip talking about "he needs help" I thought the judge was dismissive to the victim in her explanation. It was brave of her to do that.

    HoneyBadger, oh Honeybadger. Can I tell you how hard it is to watch LSU games with any girl last year, because all they do is swoon over this guy. I don't blame any athlete who gets into trouble with the NCAA b/c its a joke and completely unfair as an institution and that includes what they did to Penn St. Plus the NFL uses them as a farm system, forcing kids to stay three years despite IMO it being a clear violation of age discrimination.

    Dez: Who cares. Hakeem Nicks is a better WR and is his foot is fully healed eff the cowgirls. Show some respect to the Defending Super Bowl Champions The New York Football Giants. Once again most of Dez media hype comes from that B.S. NCAA violation. Keep in mind, since its not a legal body you can't have a lawyer with you when they question you. After that, all of his incidence are over blown, leading up to the one with his mom. No Jerry Jones took away his independence. Its embarrassing to have rules like that placed on you. Your boss telling you want to do on your free time.

    Ohh and my fantasy sleeper for this year: Justin Blackmon. Going waay to low and clearly the number one WR in what will now be a passing offense. That is why you have to stay away from MJD.
    My recent post True Blood Save Yourself Recap

    1. Thanks man.

      I agree about the judge, really glad she didn't waver. Can't be easy to do when lots of people, including the victim, speak out on his behalf.

      I'm sure the NCAA will get it's own post at some point. Really really really can't stand that institution.

      Your appraisal of the Dez situation reeks of Giants-bias. I'll take that with a grain of salt, lol.

      I also got Blackmon in one of my money leagues. Had the same thoughts. SOMEBODY has to catch the ball…right?

    2. @Cheekz, @Joe I am with Cheekz on this one.

      I am a New Yorker, but not a fan of the NYG men. I just like Tebow, & good NFL football on my TV set every fall Sunday.

      HoFamers Manning & Coughlin & the NYGiants DESERVE more respect.

  5. I feel sympathy for Tyrann Mathieu and only Tyrann Mathieu. He fell victim to substance abuse. It happens to many, athletes and none alike. I hope he can turn things around.
    Now these other two…..Zero F**ks Given!!!

    Dez Bryant – I didn't even know about Dez Bryant's situation with his mother. However if he beat her I feel no remorse for anything he is going through now.

    1. Tony Farmer – Not only do I not give a single d*mn about him losing his NBA chances but I hope when he gets out his ball skills have such diminished that he can't even be considered for D-League or overseas ball. What he did to that girl is deserving of more time than he got. I would have been happy if the judge had made him serve his time consecutive instead of concurrent. Not only did he beat her, drag her, kick her in the head repeatedly while she cowarded on the floor and threaten her over the phone afterwards but I have come to find out that he was offered help REPEATEDLY for his superiority attitude. He had a "I'm above the rules" attitude, would cursed out his coach and, as per someone who knows him personally, even cursed out his own mother. This is a kid that refused to acept the help that was often offered to him because he felt his ability placed him above the rules. I only hope that this finally wakes him up. But I don't want to see his career go any further. He doesn't deserve it, IMO

      1. Still learning more about Farmer. Those are some damning stories about his character. Geez.

        Watching him breakdown in the courtroom still gives me that feeling of that day in the locker room, but I wish I had known about that ahead of time. Seems that karma caught up to him. Hopefully the victim manages this well emotionally since the physical injuries seem to have healed.

        1. Its is damning but its what I've been told from one who knows him personally and has tried to help him and his attitude/temper. From his words this just the epitome of a history of problems involving Mr Farmer

  6. To be honest Farmer is 18, he can probably get out in 1-2 years, granted he won't ever make the NBA but he can still play basketball somewhere and start anew. Dez aside from the court of public opinion seems to be getting off pretty well, he's still a star in one of the premiere sports organizations in the NFL. All he has to do is ball out and the whole issue will just become a punchline in tweets (see Brown, Chris). Only person I feel bad for is Honey Badger, as an armchair analyst, I don't think he'll ever translate in the NFL anyway as a young man I feel for him.
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  7. Man whats up with sbm posts pandering to women lately. Welp anyway….:

    Tony Farmer: Video can look bad, actual situation could be different. If I were the judge he would have been sentenced to work in a boot camp and serve as a worker in a DV shelter. That's rehabilitation. 18 and prison, yep keep the assembly line flowing.

    Guy from LSU (NOT CALLING NO GROWN MAN HONEY BADGER)
    Hey , many have come before him to loose a spot due to the 99% things. He had to learn right now College football is going through a puritan state, meaning all who did wrong or "kick ed it" and still played ball are now on the other side and can condemn and be shocked and appalled coaxing ncaa and coaches to drop the kids. imagine the U or other colleges going through this in the 80's right…..

    Dez: As a son, you dont hit moms. We know this. But have you been in a situation where your moms make bad decisions that affect your life. Or lives reckless beyond. Oh you haven't ask Dez! When the argument ensued he should have been out. But to momma bryant chill with the gloria james acts, make it easy on your son.

    With this being said, I look at all factors with these cases, not just the incident reported. We get enough of being condemned in the public media. True should never be in the situation in the first place but once there lets look at all circumstances …just like the majority do there own.

  8. No sympathy, really….I can empathize, however, but that does not mean I condone any criminal actions/activity.

    What I do find interesting is that it appears people are giving no effs on Bryant and Farmer…but slightly feeling sorry for Mathieu. People say b/c Farmer is an athlete then he shouldn't get a pass. He should be treated like any other person….now this goes slightly beyond the scope of this topic, but following that then I'm not sure how many students on LSU's campus on academic scholarship get randomly drug tested. So basically, just b/c Mathieu is an athlete he is being treated differently then any other person, no? One would beg to ask then which one is it….or is the answer, like most things in life, "it depends"

    1. I think the nature of the crime matters as well. Mathieu is most likely to get sympathy because his trangression was understandable. We all know people with those shortcomings.

      Farmer and Bryant committed two cardinal sins. I found parts that I could empathize with (certainly not the crimes), but I understand the sentiment against them.

  9. I have sympathy for all three of these guys, edge goes to Mathieu. They should legalize weed (assuming that is what he was smoking)

    Tony is probably a victim of a lack of strong father or other male role models , and EVERYONE else was an enabler . Let me put this warning up.

    WARNING: If you beat up any defenseless human being on camera & then harrass them violating a COURT order, you're a dumba$$ and deserve whatever the judge gives you.
    Because people will insinuate that I condone violence or I am some kind of apologist. I just have perspective

    I also believe that the judge being a FEMALE also had alot to do with him getting Max time. As a man who has been behind bars, I have heard stories where if you are a male who committed a crime against a woman (s3xual assault and/or violence) and you luck up and get a female judge she will "SLAM DUNK" your a$$.

    Dez & Tony need rehab, so with there current punishments in effect, I hope they get it.

  10. I thought it was interesting to note how hard and tough Tony was while beating his girl. Son was running around the apt like a silver-back gorilla or something. Then – when the judge gives him 3 years … son turns straight p*ssy. In the immortal words of Ghostface Killah … "If you gon' play that role … play that role."
    My recent post Chivalry in the 21st Century

    1. word. Man, I thought I was the only one that found it HILARIOUS when he was sentenced. His face was priceless. In regards to Farmer, I have not much sympathy. For one, I'm from Cleveland which is a hop,skip, and a jump from from where this all happened, I can't believe he squandered his chance out. Man, youth. Also, on camera? Really bruh? Did not think that one out at all. If you're stupid enough to get caught on camera doing dirt, you deserve whatever is coming to you.

  11. I don't understand why so many people feel bad for Tyrann Mathieu. You have to know that this was swept under the rug before. In fact, according to LSU's drug policy, an athelete has to test positive twice prior to receiving a one-game suspension, which Mathieu served during the Auburn game. So at minimum, this would have been his 3rd test to be positive for him to be dismissed from the team.

    While I recognize societys need to place athletes on a pedistal and then ultimately tear them down when they make mistakes is unfair, I cannot feel sympathy for self-destructive behavior. Im sadden that this is a pattern that doesn't seem to be changing. Athletes are not learning from their own mistakes, much less those of others.

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