Grayson Allen tripped a guy. I don’t know who he tripped, some guy from FSU, but that’s completely irrelevant. FSU is completely irrelevant. This is a conversation today because it’s Grayson Allen, and because it’s Duke, and people want Allen suspended because *gasp* a lot of people hope Duke loses when they play basketball, and *gasp*, a lot of people click links or listen to radio shows talking about how Duke should lose basketball games.
There are two issues at play here. First up, Grayson Allen. Dude, stop tripping people. I get it, you’re frustrated. I even wrote about it. But tripping? Seriously? Just go dunk on somebody’s head or shoot a three in their eye. But whatever it is, you have to stop tripping people. That’s a horrible look for anyone. It’s sneaky and underhanded. It’s not “super competitive”, it’s dirty. And this is twice now. Come on, man.
But a suspension? If we’re suspending players for incidents where three referees on the court decided there was nothing there, then that’s a really bad precedent. Referees have a feel for the game that six second Vines don’t. They have a certain leeway that they’re allowed to exercise, like incorrectly rewarding one team the ball out of bounds instead of calling a foul on the other, or letting contact go if the shot is made anyway. Fans see these as “missed calls”, but more often than not, referees are massaging the rules of the game to keep continuity and fairness. After-the-fact Twitter referees lose that context, and that’s dangerous.
A good debate broke out earlier this winter when the ACC announced expanded use of the replay booth to assess targeting penalties that go unflagged on the field, with the majority of the opinions falling on the side of “that’s a slippery slope.” Now, here we are, having the same conversation, but replace “ACC replay officials” with “social media reaction.” Seems silly, right?
Yes, the league is reviewing the film of the game. Just like they do with every game, which you won’t find mentioned in any ESPN reports today. The league should do one thing … the thing they’ve always done … and that’s trust the on-court officials, for better or worse.
As for Duke? Man. You gotta check your boy. Calling for an in-house suspension is hilariously adorable from the “I want Duke to lose basketball games” crowd, but Duke has to figure out a way to stop that from happening again. If I’m Coach K, I’m having Grayson Allen take a nice tour of the stairs at Wallace Wade Stadium this morning. Then maybe, just to troll, I’d stick my foot out in front of him when he’s walking into the locker room.