BYU officials announced Davies’ suspension on Wednesday, but described his actions as nothing criminal. “In fact,” said one school spokesperson, “it was worse than criminal. It was a sin. If we can verify rumors that Davies told classmates that gays should have the same rights to marry as normal folks, he’s off the team for good. May God help him.”
“It was a surprise to everyone,” coach Dave Rose said. Asked if he thought Davies would play again, Rose responded, “Yeah, I do.”
In a statement to the press, the school explained that “everybody who comes to BYU, every student if they’re an athlete or not an athlete, they make a commitment when they come. Well, they make a commitment not to come, if you know what we mean. A lot of people try to judge if this is right or wrong, but it’s a commitment they make. It’s not about right or wrong. Like polygamy. It’s about commitment.”
BYU’s honor code, deeply rooted in Mormon values and social mores, also forbids students from drinking alcohol and coffee, smoking cigarettes, using nicotine or narcotic substances, celebrating, thinking critically, accepting scientific principles, or generally having fun. Students are also expected to be honest and regularly attend church services. Brandon Davies, however, now questions the merits of honesty.
Friends of Davies say that acclimating to the lifestyle, which in the Church of Latter Day Saints is essentially a return to a nineteenth century lifestyle, proved a difficult process for the basketball player.
Fran Weresdorf, an acquaintance of Davies, told The Bennington Vale Evening Transcript, “Some of these rules don’t make a lot of sense in this day and age, especially to athletes. I mean, Brandon is required to wear a Temple garment -- you know, the Mormon underwear -- beneath his uniform when playing. How can you play basketball in long-johns? I know they’re magical, but being burdened by a full body suit of flannel doesn’t seem to be helping. Most of the guys collapse from heat exhaustion. Three football players died last year from the same thing. But those records were erased. Forget I mentioned it.”
“Brandon also got caught visiting a Starbucks,” Weresdorf continued. “If that happens again, he’s probably going to face expulsion.”
BYU Defends Decision
Despite a growing backlash, school officials stand by their decision.
“As we’ve stated, we didn’t make the rules. Joseph Smith didn’t make the rules. Jesus did,” a school spokesman explained. “We just enforce them. And in all honesty, we’re really not asking that much of students. Abstain from premarital sex, is what we ask. But think of the greater rewards. As a Mormon, you can marry hundreds of women -- all at the same time -- and live in a secluded compound where you can all hump like minks until the Lord calls you home. And the women have to do what you say. Now, that’s a deal.”
The identity of Davies’ girlfriend, the second sinner in this scandal, has been withheld from the media. However, school administrators have confirmed that the girl has been removed from academic activities temporarily. She has been sequestered in a stockade behind the Temple, where teachers continue to flog her hourly in a ritual informally called “Smite the Slut.”
This action too has received criticism from the local community, as LDS members are required to increase their mandatory tithes to pay for the paddles, branding irons, and rotten fruit used in the punishments.
“We spent all we had striking down gay marriage in California,” lamented one homemaker. “I can’t afford to beat the sin out of some co-ed. Live and let live, I say.”