They're common refrains heard 'round Tigerland thanks to a star cornerback and a hit YouTube video.
"Honey Badger takes what he wants."
"Honey Badger don't care."
But according to the Louisiana State University (LSU) Compliance Office, Honey Badger does care.
The Honey Badger in question is LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, whose wily defensive plays have earned him comparisons to "the most fearless little animal in the world," reports USA Today.
But with game-changing plays comes game-changing stardom, and Mathieu has now become the subject of many college football fans' t-shirts, which could land both the popular player and LSU in trouble with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
NCAA rules prohibit the sale of a student-athlete's name or likeness for commercial purposes. If a student-athlete's name or image is being used without his permission, he must take steps to stop such activity in order to retain athletic eligibility.
To that end, the LSU Compliance Officer has issued cease and desist notices, and published an advisory, regarding Honey Badger paraphernalia. The advisory warns that the sale of any products and/or advertisements including any student-athlete's name, likeness or image could have a negative impact on the student-athlete's eligibility.
Here, selling items with any combination of the term "Honey Badger" with the number 7, "TM7," Mathieu's name or image, or LSU indicia, (which includes the school's purple and gold colors), potentially compromises Mathieu's eligibility.
So how does the LSU cease and desist notice differ from the NFL's 2010 cease and desist notices for New Orleans Saints "Who Dat" merchandise?
When the Saints went marching in to Super Bowl glory in 2010, the NFL alleged that "unauthorized use of the Saints colors and other [marks] designed to create the illusion of an affiliation with the Saints" violated the NFL's trademark," reports WWLTV. That trademark supposedly extended to the popular "Who Dat" chant.
While the NFL eventually backed away from dat claim, Sal and Steve Monistere, the owners of Who Dat, Inc., later asserted that they are the true owners of the actual Louisiana state trademark of the Who Dat phrase, and sued the NFL in federal court for violating their trademark.
LSU, by contrast, is asking Mathieu-merchandise vendors to stop selling the player's likeness to avoid NCAA eligibility violations and sanctions.
"Honey Badger don't care" if he returns a punt 92 yards for a touchdown, but he does care that he remains eligible to beat Alabama on January 9 in the National Championship.
- Honey Badger Does Care (LSU Compliance)
- Best Buy not Amused by Competitor's Geek Ad (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Michele Bachmann Can't Use 'American Girl:' Tom Petty Threatens Suit (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)
- Honey Badger Stalks the Heisman (The Wall Street Journal)