Sione Takitaki Rejoins BYU Football Team After Absence: Is Another Commenter Right That He Should Have Continued His Education and His Football Career Elsewhere?
By Ken K. Gourdin
Highly-touted defensive lineman Sione Takitaki has rejoined Brigham Young University’s football team after an absence, which apparently stemmed from Honor Code issues (though BYU no longer comments on the reasons underlying students’ absence from athletics or from school). BYU’s Honor Code prohibits the use of alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, and harmful drugs, as well as engaging in premarital sex. For coverage of Takitaki’s return in Salt Lake City’s Deseret News see here (this and any other links last accessed June 30, 2017):
Notwithstanding the lack of public information available about the reason(s) for Takitaki’s absence, another commenter, while acknowledging Takitaki’s football prowess, said he’s not sure if Takitaki “represents BYU,” and stated that perhaps Takitaki should have continued his education and his athletic career elsewhere. I responded:
Why? Because people can’t grow, can’t change, and can’t become better? If they’re immature (which is not unheard of for people in their late teens and early twenties) they can’t grow up? Because you’re privy to some inside information which [BYU Head] Coach [Kalani] Sitake and/or others on the coaching staff don’t have which indicates that any reported transformation Takitaki has undergone is not genuine?
Color me skeptical. And transferring out would have been the easy way out. I’m fairly certain that it would have been easier for Takitaki to do that than to meet whatever requirements he had to meet to regain good standing with the team and with BYU, but where’s the growth in that? Yes, being a scholarship athlete is a privilege, not a right. Yes, too many people are given too many chances based on their athletic prowess alone while disregarding their character. But I think neither Takitaki nor BYU have disregarded those truisms.
And in the LDS paradigm, the Atonement and Repentance are beautiful things, yes, even for college football players.