An Honorable Message
// March 3rd, 2011 // Uncategorized
Only four days after helping his team silence The Show at #4San Diego State, BYU starting PF Brandon Davies (the 3rd best player on the team) was suspended for the rest of the season.
When the news came out I imagined the worse.
Driving drunk into a group of elderly Mormons? A coke binge in a church? Some unsavory allegations of sexual misconduct? Clubbing a baby seal for a biology project?
No debauchery seems too absurd to be true anymore.
I half expected Davies to come out during Charlie Sheen’s interview sporting his best hangdog expression while admitting to being the second snorter in the Eloise Suite.
Last night I learned the true nature of Davies crime. The crime that warranted his dismissal from a Cougar team that is poised to claim a #1 seed when the brackets come out in a few weeks?
According to an ESPN Report, Davies was “Booted for having sex.”
Now as a sports fan in 2011, I’ve learned how to gauge a tagline. “Accused of” usually means there are a few eye witnesses and so and so is really guilty, but probably won’t get convicted of any wrong doing so we shouldn’t risk slandering him. “Incident” is usually referring to A) a strip club, B) cell phone camera, C) a hooker, or D) a bad drug, like cocaine. “Issued a Public Apology” means you absolutely did whatever you are being accused of, and are now desperately trying to save face by grabbing onto Jesus like Sarah Palin does with any opportunity to stay in the public eye. It’s desperate. It’s transparent. Yet somehow no one ever seems to questions their motivation. They get to just go back to nailing fade away jumpers, throwing touchdown passes, and exploiting their family.
“Booted for having sex.” It was so strangely simple, so free of ambiguous buzz words that I knew exactly what it meant.
Brigham Young University has an honor code that outlaws students from having premarital sex, and demands them to “live a chaste and virtuous life.” Every BYU student signs that honor code, including athletes who on most Division 1 campuses, would only get a perfect attendance award in premarital sex.
These kids make a conscious choice to attend school, and play sports in that environment. No one held them down and forced their eyelids open, while they watched hour after hour of Mormon home movies. When you sign up for the marines you’re acknowledging you may have to shoot your gun right?. When you agree to embarrass yourself on reality television, the cameras are going to shoot you sloppy drunk, doing any number of things and/or people you wouldn’t want your mother to see you doing aren’t they? When you walk in eyes wide open, it is hard to feel sympathy when you fail to live up the guidelines that come with that choice.
Brandon Davies, like all of his classmates, wanted to live by that code. And I don’t want to hear that it was the only school that he could have played ball at. He had choices. If my skinny, six foot, lactose intolerant (if lactose was one of the ingredients in vertical leap), shade slower than average ass had choices, than a 6’9” 235 lb power forward definitely had choices. He wanted to be held to those standards so badly that he took out a pen, and agreed to keep his pencil in his pocket.
The way I see it, the only mistake Brandon Davies made was setting himself up to fail. Like those of us who wake up with a hangover and proclaim “I am never drinking again”, he put impossible restrictions on himself. A 6’9” Division I athlete who appears on national television is a giant lightening rod for female attention.
Before you label me sexist for assuming all girls would jump at the chance to ace a school spirit exam for a starting power forward, think about it ladies. You chase after some fugly looking guys. I am not judging, and by all means for our sake, embrace this practice until further notice. But don’t tell me that upon spotting him towering above the crowd at your favorite bar, after you’ve just slammed down your tenth shot of Jager, you wouldn’t be inclined to back that thing on over to Mr. Davies instead of the spaz in the Napoleon Dynamite t-shirt or the guy who just took his shirt off so you could see his sweet new tattoo.
I doubt most of you would do it tomorrow, but in college all bets are off. You’re college memories are like Tivo. No one can judge you for what’s recorded on there, (“I swear honey, I don’t know how America’s Next Top Model got on there”) and you have no problem fast forwarding through the parts you don’t like. Average looking, average sized chumps who aren’t on TV get girls in college because there’s enough attention to go around. There is a trickle down affect from athletes, rich people, and the genuinely attractive that lands like a glob of bird shit on their awkward shoulders.
Brandon Davies, knowing that he was walking a fine line, gave in to that attention and got a girlfriend. Then proceeded to have sex with his girlfriend, and it may cost his team, and soon to be player of the year Jimmer Fredette, a shot at a deep run in the NCAA tournament. A run which could have netted the school millions, boosted enrollment, and helped in recruiting all the other blue chippers with blue balls.
Now, he will walk around the Provo campus, still a lightening rod, but for scorn instead of female affections.
As a basketball fan, and as a man, I feel sorry for Brandon Davies because of how it went down.
But I respect BYU for standing by the code that they enforce with their students. To give Davies a pass because his absence will hurt the basketball team, and could cost the university money, would have been the kind of hypocrisy that in today’s world we have become far too familiar with.
BYU may now be in for an early exit from the madness of March, but no matter how things play out on the court, the Cougars should hold their heads high.