Sports Illustrated put Tyrann Mathieu, the playmaking cornerback dismissed from LSU's team before the season, on its cover this week. Mathieu wasn't willing to be interviewed for the story, which details some of his personal struggles and possible eligibility issues for being featured on a flier promoting a party at a club, and now he's biting back at the magazine for what he says is harassment.
According to WVUE-TV, the Fox affiliate in New Orleans, the Mathieu family is accusing the magazine of not taking no for an answer when they declined to talk to SI.
"They called from blocked numbers repeatedly, asking me why I was dodging them," said Tyrone Mathieu, Tyrann's adoptive father. "They came to my home and that of my elderly mother on multiple occasions."
The television station's story also says the family hired Irpino Law Firm in New Orleans to help stop the interview requests, and published part of a letter sent from the law firm to Sports Illustrated and its writer, Pete Thamel:
"You have been consistently harassing Mr. Mathieu and his family regarding personal issues. Mr. Mathieu informed you that they have no desire to respond to your inquiries. Despite repeated assertions of this position... you have trespassed on the Mathieu's property and otherwise violated their privacy... Demand is made that you cease and desist from any attempts at making contact with Mr. Mathieu or any member of his family."
Meanwhile, the ABC affiliate in Baton Rouge, WBRZ-TV, interviewed a club promoter who accused SI of trying to bribe him to say things about Mathieu (h/t to friendsoftheprogram.net for finding the video), an accusation that was immediately denied by SI to the station:
While we don't know all the facts about what went on here, one thing that would be nice for everyone involved is if Mathieu is past his demons and can have a successful football career and life off the field.