Jimmer Fredette’s team take a stand

Brigham Young University, where Sex and sport don’t mix

In a world where sex is in abundant supply, and even the most revered “family men” succumb to the lure of extramarital dalliances, it is perhaps refreshing that one organisation has stood firm for the principles upon which it was founded.

You may have already have learned of the extraordinary story of the unlucky college basketball forward Brandon Davies, whose University Brigham Young in conservative, Mormon Utah, suspended him for having engaged in intercourse with his girlfriend. The college in question happens to be the current home of shooting guard Jimmer Fredette, one of the hottest properties in college basketball, described by US President Barack Obama as “Best scorer obviously in the country”.

While damaging his and BYU’s chances of claiming national honours this year, it allows us to examine the vastly different moral stances employed across the sporting world.

Certainly, BYU has a strict code relating to matters such as premarital and extramarital intercourse, which have been laid down by the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints, the prevailing religion of the state

Chelsea FC can be lauded for the stance they maintained in the Adrian Mutu saga, terminating his contract once he had tested positive for cocaine use, less so when they pursued him through the courts for compensation. But for every Mutu, there is a Lee Hughes or Marlon King, both of whom managed to find employment after serving jails terms, in Hughes’ case for death by dangerous driving and leaving the scene of an accident, and for sexual assault and assault causing actual bodily harm by King, one of eighteen convictions the married father of three has received.

Perhaps it is for the public at large to decide what the moral and ethical benchmark of a sports club should be. The people ultimately vote with their feet and if they are happy to pay for the opportunity to sit in the stands and cheer on convicted felons, or support a team stripped of one of their key players for committing the “sin” of premarital fornication, then the clubs are making the decision that is right for them.

The NFL quarterback Michael Vick has enjoyed a renaissance since his release from prison on charges of running an illegal dog fighting ring, repaying the Philadelphia Eagles faith in him with some of the performances of his career. It is perhaps the NFL which houses the highest number of convicts and within that lies the basic message, in the land of capitalism, money is the ultimate decision maker.

While College basketball is, despite its amateur “no pay for play” status, awash with money, one association stands against the tide, putting its arguable principles before the lure of glory. Brigham must be commended, no matter how liberal your view.


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