This two-image picture is a very interesting depiction of college football star Tyrann Mathieu. Well, perhaps it would be more accurate to say former college football star. Mathieu was an incredible cornerback and kick-returner for Louisiana State University, and led the squad to the NCAA National Championship last season. However, he was recently suspended from the squad for a violation of team rules. Mathieu already has two seasons of college football under his belt, but the twenty-year-old decided to take one more year at LSU before entering the NFL draft. Mathieu will reportedly not play football this season, which will severely hurt his chances of being a first round pick and getting the star-caliber money his skill set should earn him. This is a kid who has spent his whole life on the football field and in the weight room, training every day with dreams of making a living playing the game he loves. Mathieu has played in games almost as big as the super bowl, and is still yet to make a dime from his quality on-field performance.
The image on the left is, at first glance, just an amazing scene. All specific facts aside, this is clearly a triumphant football player celebrating alongside a stadium of fans cheering for his team. Look a bit closer, and it becomes evident that he plays for LSU, and thus the fans have paid to watch him play. The emotion packed into the image is intense, proving that this is a crucial moment in a big game – perhaps big enough for national television. The company has paid a steep price for the rights to this game, and plans to make a profit from advertising. The sidelines are lined with photographers, paid to take pictures like this one.
The image on the right entails the same football player sitting down for an interview. Around him are representatives from major news corporations asking him questions and recording his answers. Even at first glance, one may notice the purple and gold LSU backdrop. However, a closer look reveals the Verizon advertisements sprinkled amidst the Louisiana State logos. For this right, Verizon has paid a large sum of money. The interviewers are paid by their respective employers. The backdrop provides evidence that this interview was televised, so the TV station had to pay for the right to use this content. Nike has paid for the rights to LSU’s uniforms – revealed by the Nike swoosh logo on the jersey.
Both images in the picture above are intertwined with millions of dollars. Advertisers, television stations, journalists, photographers, fans, and athletic companies have all paid to become acquainted with this football player – Tyrann Mathieu. Through hard work and dedication, he has become a multi-million dollar icon. At age twenty, Mathieu has helped earn countless people large sums of money, and yet he has not seen a dime of these earnings. Now, without a team to play for, Mathieu’s future is very much in question.
Tyrann Mathieu is just one of a long line of collegiate athletes who deserve a payday.