The LSU Compliance Office has issued cease-and-desist notices telling people to stop selling merchandise bearing the name, likeness, image or nickname of Tyrann Mathieu, LSU’s Heisman-nominated cornerback. As it reminded everyone, NCAA rules forbid the use of the name or picture of a student-athlete (I guess some of them do go to class) on commercial products, and that person or institution is required to take steps to stop the activity. So that’s what LSU is doing.
Apparently, people have been trying to get around this rule (or maybe unknowingly violating it) by using not Mathieu’s picture or actual name, but rather his nickname, “The Honey Badger.” The nickname, of course, refers to the utterly great YouTube video by “Randall” in which he discusses how badass the honey badger is, since it eats bees, cobras, and so forth, and basically just “takes what it wants” because the “honey badger don’t care.”
Fantastic nickname for a cornerback, but LSU says it has become so closely associated with Mathieu that using it is effectively the same as using his name, and since T-shirts like this one (right) clearly associate it with him personally (they tend to use his initials and/or jersey number as well), that seems entirely valid.
LSU has released this podcast in which it tries to address questions it’s been receiving, and it sounds like some have been complaining that LSU may be trying to keep all the profit for itself. As they point out here, neither LSU nor Mathieu is allowed to profit from this because of the rule (some would use the word “illusion”) that NCAA football is an amateur activity. So LSU is only doing what the NCAA rules require it to do in this situation, namely take some action to stop the activity.
The crazy nastyass honey badger itself, of course, don’t care about any of this. But LSU properly do.