Brandon Davies: The National Debate

By now you’ve probably heard the story of (former) BYU basketball player Brandon Davies.

News spread on Wednesday of his dismissal from the team — a team in which he was the best rebounder at over six per game. It’s the same team with National Player of the Year candidate Jimmer Fredette, but all the talk in the last 24 hours has been about Davies.

See, BYU has its own Honor Code that its players must adhere, otherwise they are reprimanded, punished, or dismissed. The school’s policy, based on one of ethics and the teachings within its faith (Church of the Latter-Day Saints), is nothing new. Actually, It’s been around for some 70 odd years. The honor code is as follows:

• Be honest
• Live a chaste and virtuous life
• Obey the law and all campus policies
• Use clean language
• Respect others
• Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and substance abuse
• Participate regularly in church services
• Observe the Dress and Grooming Standards
• Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code

If you’re like me, you have broken a good majority of those rules. (I’ve broken many of them today alone.) The issue itself revolves around what Davies did (having sex with his girlfriend) and whether it was grounds for dismissal in the first place.

Now, any Mormon or many other religiously-devout followers would commend Davies for being true to his faith and honoring the code for which his institution is known. It takes a lot to stick to a certain way of life, whether you are a fitness freak or even an atheist. Each person operates differently, and that’s the true beauty of existence. And, let’s be frank: Davies knew what he signed up for, which explains why he has not come out and ripped on BYU or anybody else; he has only blamed himself.

For a young man whose sexual escapades are now national fodder, you must commend him for that. But to think in terms of no religion, no honor code — well, it almost seems too crazy to be true. Davies did not assault a woman for pleasure, nor did he have sexual intercourse with a complete stranger after a drunken night. It’s his girlfriend, and as far as we know, it was consensual and unassuming. He was sharing in a passionate act with someone he admires and is close to, which is something many college students can’t admit to themselves.

It’s a situation in which many are very opinionated, and many comments have resonated in the last 48 hours regarding Davies, BYU, and the issue of morality in terms of being right and wrong. He was wrong by his school’s standards but in the court of public opinion, most have stuck by his side and not that of BYU. Maybe it says something about the general makeup of our society when college kids can make their own choices and choose the kind of life they want to lead. College is the best place for experimentation and learning, and I can say that from personal experience.

With BYU’s season now in jeopardy, they have decided to keep their code to the highest degree. The public has decided to side with the honorable Davies who in their eyes has done absolutely nothing wrong. At least in the court of public opinion, Davies has been exonerated. For now.

When you can’t find the light,
That got you through the cloudy days,
When the stars ain’t shinin’ bright,
You feel like you’ve lost you’re way,
When those candle lights of home,
Burn so very far away,
Well you got to let your soulshine,
Just like my daddy used to say.

Gov’t Mule, “Soulshine”

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