Note: This is a guest blog from my husband, Eric Walford. We have been talking about this ad nauseam. While his opinion might not be the “popular” one, it is interesting!
I have always considered myself a Duke-hater, like many college basketball fans around the nation. They have always had polarizing players who are easy to root against. Some of my fondest memories at the University of Miami were those of Dwayne Collins
and Shane Larkin
tormenting the Dookies.
But I write today not to pile onto
Grayson Allen, but to propose this his punishment is too harsh. He was suspended indefinitely
after intentionally tripping an opposing player, the third tripping incident he has had in the last year. The suspension followed an outcry from writers across the nation, including Myron Medcalf saying that a similar tripping incident in a public mall would result in jail time or a civil suit. Quite frankly, this sounds like the opinion of someone who has never played basketball before.
Anyone who has played basketball knows that there are dozens of tactics that players will use to gain an upper hand. For example, when an offensive player sets a screen on a defender, he will often extend his knee an extra six inches to obstruct the defender. Occasionally the referee will catch this “dirty” move, but it often goes unnoticed. Grabbing a player’s jersey or arm to prevent them from getting a rebound is another example. What is the difference between this and Allen’s tripping incident, besides the fact that Allen’s tripping is being analyzed in super-slow motion across ESPN? These are all spur-of-the-moment, non-premeditated acts where a player attempts to gain an upper hand. Are these annoying? Yes. Are these worthy of multi-game suspensions? Certainly not.
The other glaring problem here is that the degree of crime doesn’t fit the punishment. Tre’lun Banks of Southern University committed this
ridiculously hard foul in 2015. He was ejected from the game but was NOT suspended for any subsequent games. Grayson Allen’s trip was a mere tap on the shoulder in comparison. No one should be surprised that the “victims” of the trips were not hurt at all. There are offensive lineman and hockey players out there who take harder hits during warmups.
The bottom line is that Grayson Allen is that guy you play basketball with who always grabs your jersey to prevent you from driving to the rim. Yes, that guy is annoying, but he probably shouldn’t get kicked out of the gym. Duke should stand up to the excessive whining of the media and limit his suspension to just one game.
As long as the one game is January 21 against Miami…
After a more than two-year break from this blog, my child is more self-sufficient, and I’ve grown accustomed to her poor sleep habits. That is not the reason I’m writing today. It’s because I have to make a comment on these kids who are skipping their bowl games.
They say it is to “focus on the NFL Draft” this April. Okay. Let’s call a spade a spade. Just say you don’t want to get hurt. I’m sure Willis McGahee
Overall, I agree with Miami Head Coach Mark Richt, who calls it “sad.” If nothing else, I think it’s a really (pardon my french) shitty thing to do to your teammates, university and fanbase.
I don’t get how you sign a scholarship and get away with this crap. This is a slippery slope. Sam Darnold, the stud redshirt freshman QB at USC, is an almost-guaranteed first-round draft pick once he is eligible. Next year, can he say, “Hey Clay (Helton), I might get hurt vs. Washington and it will hurt my draft stock. I’m sitting out.”
Playing in the bowl game is the right thing to do, but I can see the other side. Coaches ditch their teams for greener pastures all the time, and an interim coaches the bowl game. Nick Saban made a good point too when he said the bowl games are being devalued. At least Willis was playing for a national title. No player wants to blow out his knee at the Toilet Bowl. I’m digressing, but there are too many bowl games. OMG. Bowls used to be a privilege for teams that had outstanding seasons. I think we have a 5-7 team in a bowl game this year. 5-7, 6-6, 7-5, and even 8-4 teams should not be in bowl games. Having formerly worked in athletics, I understand the coaches want the extra practices but come on.
In Willis’ interview with TMZ, he mentioned that he’s played for four pro teams, but his college team at The U is where his loyalty lies. The reason the 2000-3 Miami teams were so great (besides sick talent) was that they believed in something bigger than themselves. Now, it’s all about ME. There is no loyalty anymore. This is a result of society worshiping sixteen year olds on social media, among other things. Ken Dorsey, Willis McGahee, Ed Reed, etc. were lucky not to have this problem.