Arizona Cardinals cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was a great college player at LSU who probably got twice as much attention as similarly talented players because some media members got an unusual thrill out of saying his nickname over and over and over and over.
Perhaps believing it helped with their pop culture cred, they would refer to Mathieu as “Honey Badger” on first (and dozens of subsequent) references, beating a once popular internet meme into the ground. The nickname was ridiculously overused and I never mentioned it writing about his college football exploits (or lack thereof over the past year), but now I have to.
Because Mathieu discussed reviving the “Honey Badger” nickname, even though I really have zero idea what that actually means.
Mathieu, a gifted cornerback and returner who is trying to move past his past problems as the third-round pick of the Cardinals, said in an interview with the Akron Beacon Journal he would consider embracing the nickname again. He hasn’t been happy with it because it reminds him of a time at LSU when he was making mistakes that led to the end of his college career. But, he said it could make a comeback.
“I think so, but I think it’s going to take some time, just because ‘Honey Badger’ happened at such a bad time, a time where I wasn’t making the best decisions,” Mathieu told the Akron Beacon Journal. “So going forward, if I’m able to make the right decisions, able to be that role model for the kids, I think the ‘Honey Badger’ can be a pretty positive person.”
Outdated pop culture reference mongers rejoice!
Here’s the real question: Can anyone determine if and when their nickname will be used? Isn’t it kind of the point of a nickname that you don’t give it to yourself and can’t tell people when and how to use it? Do anxious media members have the shakes waiting for Mathieu to give the blessing to use the nickname again?
If Mathieu has that kind of power, here’s hoping he retires the nickname for good. Not for his sake. For the rest of us.