I’m not a big sports fan but BYU basketball player, Brandon Davies’ recent suspension for breaking BYU’s honor code caught my attention. His sex scandal isn’t one that usually makes the news; no sex tape, no hookers, he just admitted to having premarital sex with his girlfriend.
BYU students know about the honor code and the ramifications of breaking the code, they sign it before becoming students at the school – it’s pretty clear that premarital sex is a no-no. Davies wasn’t forced to go to BYU, and just as other kids who go there, the rules (regardless of how archaic you believe they are) apply to him, too. I applaud Davies for his honesty, though how it all came out we don’t seem to know, and his acceptance of the punishment. He knew he did the crime and he’s sucking it up and taking the punishment for it – he’s taking responsibility for his actions.
Sports fans and commentators are aghast at the punishment and the fact that BYU would suspend Davies just at the start of March Madness. What, should they have waited until it was over and punished him after he’d led his team through the tournament? What message would that have sent? How effective would the punishment have been at that point? And, what message are you sending to the other students?
Sports Illustrated columnist Jimmy Traina believes that the kid should be “cut some slack” for confessing, and that if someone ratted him out instead of him confessing of his own violation, “then that person should be suspended, not Davies. And before you tell me that reporting violations is part of the “honor code,” at some point common sense has to overtake the honor code and being a tattletale shouldn’t be encouraged.” How mature of Traina; his take on the situation calls his own character and morals into question.
We complain about kids not taking responsibility for their actions; we watch sports stars and politicians commit crimes with the expectation that because they are who they are, that they’ll slide by without having to take responsibility. We’re outraged when “a star” gets a slap on the wrist for a crime that would have landed you or me in jail. So why are we outraged that a future star athlete is stepping up, accepting responsibility and paying the fine? Why do we feel he should skate on breaking a contract that he has with his school? Because it’s basketball?
We should be proud that this young man has the maturity and character to come clean about what he did. We don’t have to be proud about the actions that got him to this point, but we can be proud that someone raised their kid to accept responsibility for his actions, no matter how bitter the medicine.