BYU goes easy on football player caught screaming strangling threats — after punishing rape victims
A new video posted by MormonLeaks shows a player on Brigham Young University’s football team screaming at an unseen individual and threatening to strangle them — all while police officers are present.
Local news station KUTV reports that BYU linebacker Francis Bernard was shown in the video confronting police officers in his apartment who were there to issue him a ticket for hosting a loud party that went into early Sunday morning last December.
One officer told Bernard that he had already warned him once about the noise, and said that already told him he would have to issue him a ticket if he was forced to come back. Bernard remained defiant, however, and dared police to call his coach and tell him he deserved a ticket.
The officer then shot back that, if his coach actually did come to Bernard’s apartment, he would see multiple violations of BYU’s Honor Code, which includes a provision that students “live a chaste and virtuous life” and to “abstain from alcoholic beverages.” Bernard responded that all the people at the party were of proper age, presumably meaning the legal drinking age.
At some point in the video, Bernard noticed that an employee at the school was present and making a recording of what was going on. Bernard tried to force the person out of the room, but he resisted.
“You can’t close the door,” the person filming the encounter between Bernard and the police said. “I work here, remember?”
At that point, Bernard became very angry and started yelling threats at the man.
“I’ll f*cking pop you in the face, b*tch!” Bernard yelled. “I swear on my life, if I see you, I will f*cking strangle you until you f*cking don’t breathe!”
Shortly after this incident, Bernard was suspended for one game — the Poinsettia Bowl against Wyoming — for unspecified violations of conduct. However, as MormonLeaks writes, BYU students have faced expulsion for doing things far more benign than what Bernard was seen doing in the video.
“Just this past year, the Salt Lake Tribune won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting that exposed mistreatment of sexual assault victims on BYU campus,” the website writes. “It is our belief that there is even more abuse surrounding the implementation and enforcement of the Honor Code. There have been many claims and accusations made concerning students being expelled or suspended for less than what Mr. Bernard and his colleagues admit to in this video.”
Bernard is still on the BYU football team, although he is being forced to redshirt in his junior year.
Deseret News reports that, as a result of the December 4 incident, Bernard was “was charged with disorderly conduct, a class C misdemeanor,” although it was “reduced to an infraction” when he pleaded guilty.
BYU spokeswoman Carrie Jenkins wouldn’t comment on the handling of Bernard’s case specifically, and only said that Honor Code violations are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Rape victims who attended BYU have accused the school of punishing them after learning about their sexual assaults, and the school in 2011 suspended a basketball player for an entire season simply for having consensual premarital sex.
Watch the video of Bernard dealing with police officers below.