Another Reason To Hate Duke: Grayson Allen is “Trippin’”

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Coach “K” got it wrong. The Duke Coach got it all wrong. Coach Mike Krzyzewski suspended junior guard and former captain Grayson Allen “indefinitely” and the indefinitely lasted a whopping one game. Allen was suspended for just one game for tripping an opposing player, not once or twice, but for the third time. And now Grayson Allen is playing again. Unbelievable.

I say again, this marked the third time that Grayson Allen intentionally tripped an opposing player in the past year. Allen intentionally stuck out his leg and tripped an Elon player Wednesday night, December 22nd, an incident he later apologized for. Allen was defending Santa Ana late in the first half of the Blue Devils’ 72-61 victory. Santa Ana drove past him on the baseline, and Allen stuck his right leg out, sending Santa Ana to the floor. Allen was assessed a technical foul. He then became overly emotional on the bench after he found out about the technical.  Talk about a poor sport.

Grayson Allen has now thrice committed the same dirty play. Does that make him a dirty player? You tell me. Allen has now gone from a mild-mannered, Bible verse-tweeting potential All-American to the biggest villain in college basketball. The passionate, palpitant, hard-nosed Allen is arguably the Duke Blue Devils’ best player and is the heart and soul of his team. With him they have a shot at going deep into the NCAA Tournament. Without him, they’re toast. So is that the reason why Coach K and the Duke University brain trust are putting up with his behavior?

There have been many discussions regarding disparity in punishment as pertaining to race. Just think: what would have happened if Grayson Allen was another color, race or creed? He probably would have been kicked off of the team and possibly dispelled from his school. It is disappointing and disparaging to see a Duke player get treated differently than other players would certainly be treated. The  “conspiracy theorists” of the world all believe that there is a double standard, and Duke in general, and now Grayson Allen in particular, got off and got by after doing what is horrible at best and heinous at worst.

Allen has endured a significant amount of scrutiny and criticism, and has been caught up in a viral, social media firestorm; but he did this to himself, purposefully tripping three opponents in the last two seasons. First it was Louisville’s Ray Spalding on Feb. 8, 2016, then Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes on Feb. 25, 2016. The first incident was surprising; the second incomprehensible, a pattern of dirty behavior that no longer could be written off as a “Did he or didn’t he do it intentionally?” debate. No, he did it, with his right foot out, left heel up. It turned Grayson Allen into a trending topic on Twitter, an ignominious YouTube sensation and the topic of conversation around the country.

Then, this past December, Duke suspended Allen after the third incident. Here’s what Coach K had to say after the latest trip: “We have had the opportunity to thoroughly review the incident involving Grayson Allen from last night’s game against Elon. As I stated last night, the incident was unacceptable and inexcusable. . . . As a program, we needed to take further steps regarding his actions that do not meet the standards of Duke Basketball. To that end, we have determined that Grayson will be suspended from competition for an indefinite amount of time.” And Coach K stripped Allen of his captainship.

Former Duke standout Jay Williams had this advice for Grayson Allen:  “Grayson Allen has a choice to make, the same one another former Duke guard had to make a long time ago. Will he learn from being forced to sit and watch? What happens next will define him.” And one ACC coach told ESPN’s Andy Katz that Allen needs help handling his actions. To say the least.

ACC commissioner John Swofford issued a statement supporting the move, calling sportsmanship “one of the core values of our league” and adding that the suspension “demonstrates adherence to this important principle.”

And here’s what Allen had to say for himself: “I made a really bad play. I’m sorry to him, Santa Ana ….. I’m sorry to the officials who had to call that. I’m sorry to my team. It was selfish and taking away from them. I’m not proud of that at all.”

Duke’s season depends on whether Grayson Allen can grow up. Yes, Duke made the right move suspending Grayson Allen, but it’s what happened during his short time away — and WHY he returned so soon — that will define a season for a team many thought would play for the title.

The question was asked, “how long should Grayson Allen sit?” The answer?  He sat one game. A whopping one game. Wow. He should have sat for much longer.  In hockey, if a player is tripped on a breakaway (with no opponents to pass other than the goaltender), a tripping call may result in a penalty shot for the tripped player. Nuff said.

Yes I believe in grace and mercy and redemption, but I also believe in judgement, and in this case, the punishment did not fit the crime.  If there’s one thing I can’t stand its dirty players. Right is right and wrong is wrong.  And Grayson Allen was wrong, three times over, and he got away with what amounts to a slap on the wrist.

What’s wrong with that picture?

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

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End the evil of those who are wicked, and defend the righteous. For you look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God (Psalm 7:9, NLT)

Right and wrong are as opposite as night and day and are as contradictory as oil and water. Since they don’t mix, all of our mothers made sure to teach us this lesson: two wrongs don’t make a right, in sports and in life.  Going the wrong way, doing the wrong thing, saying the wrong words will invariably get you to the wrong place. To go right, you can’t do wrong. And you can’t go wrong when you’re committed to doing right. As Spike Lee taught us, we all need to “Do the Right Thing.” 

Two wrongs don’t make a right. It’s a proverb used to rebuke or renounce wrongful conduct as a response to another’s transgression.   Coach Jim Boeheim unfortunately taught us this lesson once again. Syracuse had the ball, down 60-58 when star forward CJ Fair drove for an apparent tying layup. But official Tony Greene whistled Fair for charging — and Boeheim shot onto the court to argue. Greene slapped him with two technical fouls and ejected him. “I thought it was a block or a no-call,” Fair said. “I don’t think there was that much contact, either.” No contact? Not really, but the point was the refs call.

Right is always waiting for the opportunity to overcome wrong. And Coach Boeheim missed his latest opportunity. With 10.4 seconds left on the clock, and with Duke leading Syracuse 60-58, one of college basketball’s best games of the season ended with the Hall of Fame coach being ejected after he charged onto the court to argue a block/charge call.

And Coach Boeheim didn’t just charge onto the court, he “went off,” yelling and screaming and cursing and flaying his arms in protest. “I just thought that was the worst call of the year, that’s all,” Boeheim said. “I hated to see the game decided on that call.” Honestly, the call could have gone either way. At worst it was a bad call, at best it should have been a no-call.  But it was called, for better or for worse.

Right or wrong, we’ve all been taught not to argue with the refs, and not to react to a bad call. Just play the game.  With 10.4 seconds left, Syracuse could have played defense, or fouled a Duke player, in order to extend the game. Instead, Duke was awarded four foul shots. Duke made three of them and had possession of the ball. AND your coach was ejected. Game Over. The wrong reaction of Coach Boeheim allowed Duke to go right to the winners circle. Thanks coach.

Wrong is just that; it’s wrong. It can never amount to right, unless God works something out. And Joseph taught us this lesson. When he was wronged by his older, jealous brothers, he held his peace and did not retaliate. In the end, in the providence of God, the Sovereign Lord worked things out for good.  God can’t make evil good, but He can bring good out of evil.  To use Joseph’s words, “As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Genesis 50:20-21, RSV).

So don’t allow wrong to win the day. Don’t allow your emotions to get the best of you. Don’t melt down when you need to firm up. The problem of evil will not be overcome with more evil. Martin Luther King taught us that “those who assert that evil means can lead to good ends are deceiving themselves.” Amen. 

So remember, people will do you wrong, refs will make bad calls, and you will make mistakes yourself. Evil and wrong are with us, for now. But one day, God will put an end to all evil and to all wrong. The crooked will be made straight and the rough places will be made plain. So determine to overcome evil with good. Because two wrongs will never make a right.