• Mary Chauvin

Shame On You, LSU

Updated: May 26

by Mary Chauvin

I am an athlete and I know that we are held to very high standards. Except if you're on the football team.

As a freshman in college, there are a lot of things you expect to experience. As a collegiate athlete, you are exposed to a completely different world.

There are amazing experiences such as winning a championship or meeting the winner of the Heisman Trophy, along with a few downsides including having many aspects of your life monitored including your weight and your image. Athletes are held to a higher standard; well, that is, if you’re not on the football team.

Out of all the experiences that I expected in college, being involved in a sexual assault case in any capacity wasn’t on that list.

One day during the summer after my freshman year, I received a phone call. My phone buzzed a couple times. I looked down and didn’t recognize the number. I clicked the lock button and moved on. A few minutes later a notification on my phone popped up. It was a voicemail from that number. I listened to the voicemail and my heart dropped. The call was an LSU Police officer asking me to come to the station to answer a few questions.

I met Jade Lewis, an LSU tennis player, through a friend I had on the team. We started hanging out and quickly became friends. We would gossip and have fun and layout by the pool. Most of our conversations had one constant: Drake Davis, a former wide receiver for the LSU football team.

I remember the first time I went to Lewis’ apartment. It was empty because she had just transferred back to LSU after trying to play professional tennis. She got a text from Davis while I was there. She rolled her eyes.

“What’s the matter?” I asked.

“If I talk back, I get blocked,” Lewis said. I was only 18. I had not yet been introduced to a lot of the dark places a relationship can take you until I met Lewis.

A few days before this call from the police, Lewis sent me text screenshots of Davis threatening her along with photos of bruises all over her body. I wanted to help her in whatever way I could, so I agreed to go to the police station after Lewis decided to press charges.

I walked into the LSU Police station and thought to myself that the only other time I had been there was to ask for a parking tag. I sat on a bench right inside the door and waited.

Minutes later, an officer opened the door and told me to come with him. I walked through the cold hallway with blank walls, then sat down in the back room. My heart was racing. I was running through scenarios in my head of questions they might ask.

“We have talked to a couple of Jade’s friends and your name came up,” the officer said. “We are trying to get as much information as we can about the abusive interactions Jade had with Drake.”

Lewis was my friend, so I was hesitant about saying anything she didn’t want to be said because of how sensitive the subject was.

I showed police the screenshots Lewis sent me from Davis that read: “I’m gonna punch you,” “come over,” “I might kill you,” “you’re so stupid,” “I don’t care at this point,” “hurry up.”

I also showed photos of bruises on her neck from when Davis came over and gripped her neck choking her and held her against the wall at her apartment on the night the police were called.

Davis was arrested on August 17th, 2018, and was quickly released on bail. At this point, several incidents had occurred. Davis was arrested again after being abusive for the second time in one month.

I worked for Tiger TV at the time and it needed a reporter to cover Davis’ hearing. I agreed to go with a co-worker. We drove to the courthouse in downtown Baton Rouge, walked through the doors and had to leave our camera outside. We went through the metal detectors and went up the stairs. We sat in the hallway with the other reporters for what felt like forever. They opened the doors to the courtroom and we all flooded in. I sat down on one of the wooden benches and waited for Davis to walk through the doors. He came out in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs and we immediately made eye contact. I could feel his embarrassment in that moment.

Davis’ lawyer stated that he made a mistake and asked for him to be released. I remember clear as day being so appreciative of the judge’s response.

“I can’t take it easy on you just because you play football for LSU,” the judge said. “Your actions aren’t forgiven just because of your status as an LSU athlete,” the judge said. He did not view his actions as a mistake, he viewed them as a choice.

I tried to forget. The gravity of the situation weighed heavily on me. This could’ve happened to anyone, and it happened to a close friend. As time went on the memories started to fade.

Until a few months ago.

We walked into golf practice following the allegations on the way LSU athletics has handled sexual misconduct. I had no idea there were so many circumstances of football players being protected from their indiscretions. Our coaches talked about it, assuring us that if anything bad ever happened to us, to not hesitate to come to them and it will be handled.

I thought to myself: “Yeah, it will be handled as long as the man isn’t an LSU Football player.”

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