For the second time in less than three weeks, a player widely considered among the frontrunners for ACC Player of the Year has intentionally attempted to injure an opposing player. And for the second time, that dirty cheating has been met with radio silence from his Hall of Fame coach and the sycophantic media that worships him.
With three seconds left against Florida State on Thursday, Duke's Grayson Allen whipped his leg backward into FSU's Xavier Rathan-Mayes, sending the Seminoles' best player sprawling to the floor in an uncontrolled fall.
Anyone who's watched ACC basketball this year had a moment of deja vu: On February 8th, Allen did the same thing against Louisville's Raymond Spalding.
Unlike the Louisville trip, Allen did not pick up a foul on Thursday night—despite an official less than 10 yards away with eyes toward the action.
In his postgame press conference after Louisville, Mike Krzyzewski didn't say word one about Allen's dirty play. Instead he praised his team's "great effort," and said he was "proud of them." He did address Allen, saying the guard "plays so hard." Not one member of the media asked a question about it.
Thursday night, more of the same. Coach K's team played with "emotion" and was "giving him everything." And despite Allen's return to dirty play just minutes before, not one damn peep from the press.
No one wants to see a player get hurt. There's no stronger cardinal principle in sports, especially college sports. But if left unchecked, someone's going to. You watch Rathan-Mayes or Spalding in those videos. See how exposed their ankles, knees, wrists, even their heads are as they are sent to the hardwood. If the league gives a damn about protecting its athletes, it needs to punish Allen for trying to injure them.
The same goes for if the league gives a damn about protecting Grayson Allen. Players like him have a way of getting punished on the court, especially if those in control of the game haven't enforced the written rules. Rebounds are a terribly chaotic situation. Jump shooters leave themselves exposed in the air. It would be equally bad for an opponent to try to hurt Grayson Allen, and any attempt to do so should be met with an ejection and a suspension. But if the league doesn't step in to discipline Allen's play, don't be surprised if the players decide to.
Will any league response actually happen? Of course not. The ACC front office has the cajones of Lord Varys, especially when it comes to the Triangle bluebloods. And the ACC media isn't going to make a peep about it, for fear of losing their precious access. Which means Grayson Allen will go on being propped up as an "effort" player, a "hustle" guy, another in the line of Coach K's Revered.
We know different. Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Raymond Spalding know different. So let's drop the act and call this spade a spade.
The league is reportedly reviewing the game. Watch this space for their inevitably mealy mouthed response.