Tri-partisan

Trip in UNC game puts Twitter in mind of Duke's Grayson Allen

Posted September 6

Duke's starting five - including the recently suspended Grayson Allen (center, head down) - prior to the Blue Devils' game versus Georgia Tech on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, NC.  Duke won 110-57.  (Photo by Jack Morton)

The ACC basketball schedule comes out later this week, but area fans already were in midseason form discussing Duke guard Grayson Allen. Why? Because late in UNC’s loss to Cal, cameras appeared to catch Tar Heel receiver Austin Proehl tripping a Cal defensive back in the same manner that Allen was caught tripping opponents three times over the past two seasons.

Like Allen, there’s not much there to indicate anything more than an intentional trip out of frustration. And also like Allen, we’re talking about a trip. Not a shot to the head. Not an undercut. Not a dangerous shot at a player’s knees. But naturally, that didn’t stop folks from reacting.

Duke fans across Twitter sarcastically braced for the national outrage that followed Grayson Allen throughout last season.

If you recall, ESPN’s Rece Davis called Allen a “petulant toddler” during a Gameday broadcast, Seth Greenberg wondered aloud if Allen should voluntarily stop playing basketball for his own mental health, and Michelle Beadle controversially suggested that someone should knock Allen out.

UNC fans, meanwhile, reacted like many Duke fans did during basketball season by adding context to the short clip for justification. Many pointed out that Proehl was responding to being repeatedly tackled by Cal defensive backs who (wisely) chose to give up a penalty versus giving up a touchdown. I’m guessing those same fans conveniently missed the persistent physical play that led to each of Allen’s discretions.

Some astutely argued that football is a different sport than basketball, and while that’s entirely accurate, tripping is indeed illegal in both sports.

Arguments were even made that Proehl’s trip looked nothing like Allen’s trips, but taking a look at the replay from the Louisville game, the two plays are nearly identical.

So what’s the difference? Why is there no national outrage? The two easiest answers are that Proehl was caught once while Allen was caught three times, and that Allen plays basketball for Duke while Proehl plays football for North Carolina.

The first is a point that Duke fans should understand and accept, and it’s surely a point that’s been driven home to Allen heading into his senior season.

The second is a reality that Blue Devils everywhere should be proud of. Duke basketball is THE national brand and will always carry that distinction as long as they keep winning. Meanwhile, UNC football is a blip on the radar nationally, and home losses to Cal will do wonders for maintaining college football obscurity.

Thankfully, some fans had the correct take in response to Proehl’s late-game trip.

Sports tend to bring out emotions we don’t feel otherwise. This is evidenced both by a player’s split-second decision to trip an opponent out of frustration, and by the anger fans feel about how these situations are discussed, or not discussed. In reality, Proehl, like Allen, was in the wrong. But it’s just a trip. It’s really not a big deal.

Hopefully Proehl will dodge the name calling and psychoanalysis, not because he plays football at UNC, but because we’ve all felt a little silly about the way we treated Allen, one way or another, a season ago. As he should, Proehl will be fully available for the Tar Heels as they host Louisville on Saturday.

In actual Grayson Allen news, the Duke star made a brief appearance on the big screen at Wallace Wade throwing the Durham “horns” up while watching the Blue Devils beat NC Central 60-7.

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