ASU's handling of Durant saga provides a refreshing dose of competence

Despite ample opportunities to follow a negative precedent set by the NFL and others, ASU finds itself in a position to take a stand against domestic violence.

The eventful saga of Davon Durant's suspension and dismissal from the ASU football program in wake of a mutual parting of ways, as first reported by Sports Illustrated, came to an end Wednesday evening. 

If you've been following what has been a rather noisy offseason for both college football and the NFL, you're probably aware how both groups have handled the recent string of player-involved domestic violence cases, most notably with Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy and former Florida State quarterback De'Andre Johnson. 

Durant's drama was dragged out for months in Maricopa County Superior Court, further complicated when his girlfriend recanted her statement, a fear-induced gut reaction that made a mess of an already ugly situation.  

Despite this, Durant eventually pled guilty to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge, leading to head coach Todd Graham informing SI's Thayer Evans that "he's done." 

In a world of deceptive grandstanding and ambiguity under the cloak of political correctness in public speaking, no two words fit better to turn the page and bluntly slam the door shut on this story. 

Quite frankly, a swift response was a welcoming and refreshing move by the ASU athletic administration.

Addressing Durant's punishment as quickly and fairly as the legal circumstances allowed them to, ASU unintentionally became the model which teams should emulate when facing disciplinary issues. 

Florida State, meanwhile, is making an absolute mockery of their own ethical guidelines. In the wake of Johnson's arrest, and running back Dalvin Cook's (he is serving an indefinite suspension after allegedly punching a woman in the face several times outside of a Tallahassee bar) University president John Thrasher held a team meeting to inform players and coaches that the consequences of such behavior are severe and serious. 

It shouldn't be Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher's or Todd Graham's responsibility to keep grown adults from assaulting women. And yet, it absolutely is on each of them to ensure that every possible step that can be taken to create a culture which discourages and appropriately reprimands such behavior. 

We were graciously treated to a game of semantics when Durant tweeted that he was not, in fact, dismissed. His name isn't on the roster, and it's safe to assume he isn't welcome back, so he'll have plenty of time to analyze the word choice of the SI piece on his own. 

The murky nature of the Durant case spurred by the waiting game we were ultimately forced to watch play out might have been a cause to doubt just how sincere Graham was about cleaning up his program and enforcing his high standards. 

You'd be foolish now to discount him. 

Not everyone will follow the example set by quarterback Mike Bercovici and others, but there's no question that the quality of character already in the Sun Devil locker room has a zero tolerance policy. 

Being on the right side of morality tends to have significant karmic advantages, too. 

Five-star recruit or not, Graham's statement reaffirms that violence holds no place in Sun Devil athletics. The same should be said for the rest of NCAA-sanctioned sports, and the NFL. 

But by now, we know that not to be the case. 

It's established that Graham and Co. have done the right thing, but behaving politely and going about your business like a civilized human being doesn't earn you any gold stars. Respectful treatment of women isn't some rare trait that pops up in a scouting report, it should be demanded and expected at all times. 

Fisher's comedic, passive ignorance of a chronic problem that began with a controversial season of former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston has devolved into a circus of socially acceptable criminal behavior. 

Somehow, none of that manages to delve past the tip of the iceberg that is the NFL's wholly incompetent disciplinary system, led by Clown-in-Chief, Commissioner Roger Goodell. 

According to police reports, Hardy brutally beat his girlfriend and threatened to kill her, eventually throwing her down onto a pile of loaded weapons. 

The message unequivocally sent by reducing Hardy's suspension from 10 games to four is alarmingly clear – his crime was no worse than Tom Brady allegedly having knowledge that someone allegedly intentionally deflated footballs. (We still are awaiting a ruling on an event that happened in January, and we're creeping towards August, by the way.) This is the moral relativism of Goodell's NFL. 

As if there wasn't enough madness to be preoccupied with, there's embattled Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer, who infamously lashed out at Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to the media behind his back after publicly defending him. He's now on to bigger and better things, like punching a teenage boy in the face over a dispute about a set of beach chairs. Nice going, Aaron. 

Socially, football is struggling to tread water in a society that no longer tolerates blatant discrimination, domestic violence, and outdated concussion and injury protocol. 

It will soon find itself drowning if there is no concerted attempt to eradicate this poisonous culture before it is too late to perform an act of any consequence. 

Reach the sports editor at smodrich@asu.edu or follow @StefanJModrich on Twitter.

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