I never wrote the giant treatise on the Devendorf saga that I had in my head — but one of the main points I and many others maintained was not that Devendorf isn’t a douchebag (he is), not that aggression against women is ever condonable or excusable, and not that Devo was likely innocent of the charges; the argument was that the punishment the student judicial board handed down was so outrageously and excessively harsh as to be completely unreasonable given the alleged crime. The board determined that because Devo got into an argument with a girl at 4 AM and marginally slapped her once (the plaintiffs acknowledged it was not a closed fist), causing her “no harm” (the official ruling), that it was fair to essentially ruin his life. They wanted to end his basketball career, effectively guarantee he would never graduate from college, and forever change the direction of his life. They managed to turn a jerk like Devo into an almost sympathetic figure.
Reasonable voices the entire time were clamoring that a much more appropriate punishment for a young man like Devo — who comes from a rough neighborhood and rougher culture — would be a shorter term suspension from the team combined with some kind of community service and anger management treatments. It’s simply not reasonable to jump from probation (which he was on) to out for the year. A middle-ground “strike two” punishment was the only appropriate route — which is what we see in other sports like the NBA, MLB, and NFL. Thankfully, now, it appears that cooler heads have prevailed and this is exactly what he will receive. But the most gratifying result came today from the lawyer for the female student who took Devo to court in the first place. This is what he had to say:
Lawyer Richard Kesnig said he had not yet had an opportunity to talk to his client about the latest development in the Devendorf case. But he said he suspected she shared his opinion.
“I’m not happy seeing a young man’s life turned upside down. We just wanted to see justice done,” he said. “If the University feels this is fair knowing all it knows about this, then I’m satisfied,” he added.
Exactly. Although some of the rest of the article in question revealed Kesnig to be quite cynical about the privileged treatment of athletes, the sentiments expressed above show what I suspected the whole time: the plaintiffs weren’t trying to ruin Devo’s life either and were probably just as taken aback with the severity of the punishment. I can see how this girl would want to make Devo pay for what he did and make him learn a lesson for acting like such an asshole, but did she really want him kicked out of school? I had hoped not, and this quote suggests she is a reasonable person as well. That’s good to see. Hopefully everyone can get on with their lives now and Devo won’t screw up his pennance and his second chance.