The internet is abuzz with the recent events with BYU’s basketball program. Emotions are high, and opinions are flying. I find many of them rather extreme, especially those that are either overly critical of BYU or overly critical of Brandon Davies.
I was interested to read what those closest to the situation had to say. For example, while this article from ESPN Sports focuses a lot on the confidence Coach Dave Rose has in the team in their ability to “bounce back,” there are some other facets further on in the article that I think are noteworthy. First of all, you can read comments on the importance of the BYU Honor Code from coaches and others, including former BYU basketball player and current Boson Celtics president of basketball operations, Danny Ainge. (I’d also invite you to read Brenda’s post yesterday on the Honor Code.)
Here, I want to highlight one comment in particular from the ESPN article. Davies’ teammate, Charles Abouo, says this about Brandon:
“He’s a great friend, like a brother to me….Everyone makes mistakes in their lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with him. We’re reaching out, trying to help him get through this.”
Indeed, we all make mistakes. And when we do, we need love and support. I am grateful to hear that Brandon Davies has a circle of support around him in his coaches and teammates. He’s also reached out to his teammates in sorrow for what happened.
I hope BYU fans will also rally around Davies, as well as anyone else who has been affected by this story.
I also think Brandon Davies can be commended for his courageous decision to be honest. I think it shows integrity on his part, all the more so at such a time in the season as this, during such a season as this.
I think there is a lot to reflect on here. Rules and laws do exist. They exist for our benefit. Love should not be confused with excusing wrongful choices. Repentance can be very, very hard. But the (sometimes very difficult) reality of consequences must never overshadow the power and necessity of genuine compassion and loving support that we should extend to each other. Because, again, we all make mistakes.
This has all unfolded in the context of BYU basketball, but I’m left reminded of the core message of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which includes both a consistent invitation to recognize our mistakes and and seek to become better, coupled with the reality that God our Father and His Son Jesus Christ love us perfectly. When we can mirror both elements — encouraging people in their efforts to improve and extending love and compassion — I think we can reflect (and feel!) some of the wonder of God’s amazing grace.
I liked this encouragement from a former BYU athlete, Reno Mahe, who walked this path before — and was able to come back.
Good post, Michelle.
I wanted to add another link from Michael Otterson’s “On Faith” article in the Washingon Post, who is over public affairs for the Church. He captured both elements of what I was trying to address here – both the importance of the standards, and the importance of compassion.
“The principle is clear. We commit to a standard of behavior, and then we do what we say we’ll do. That’s what an honor code is. It’s facing consequences for our choices. It’s certainly what Mormons believe. It’s consistent with doing our best to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.”
But he adds:
“But fortunately, it doesn’t end there…. Brandon Davies is more than a trending topic on Google. He is a young man full of energy, talent and opportunity, all of which remain present as he moves through what is undoubtedly a difficult time in his life. While this one mistake may redirect his life for a time it does not define who he is. Those that care for him, including his church leaders, are reaching out to help, guide and support. Friends, family and true fans likewise. There are a lot of people at BYU who will do all they can to help Brandon get through this trial in his life and come out on top. He isn’t just an athlete, but a child of God.”
I’m grateful to be part of a Church that believes in the blessing that commandments are, and in holding to standards, and also believes in repentance when mistakes are made.
Thank you for your post! What I loved most about it is this statement you made:
“Love should not be confused with excusing wrongful choices. Repentance can be very, very hard. But the (sometimes very difficult) reality of consequences must never overshadow the power and necessity of genuine compassion and loving support that we should extend to each other. ”
Thanks for the reminder of what the pure love of Christ is about!
I also love the part Ariane quoted. Mercy cannot rob justice, but that doesn’t mean mercy has to be left out altogether. Quite the contrary!
Thank you for such a thoughtful piece.
Ariane, Jean, thanks. It’s that reality that we believe in both justice and mercy that I hoped to capture. There is no real love, imo, without the proper balance of both.