Just over two minutes into Duke’s second round matchup against Yale, Makai Mason, Yale’s point guard and the hero of Yale’s opening round victory against Baylor, was driving when he abruptly fell hard to the ground. The cause of the fall? Mason had been tripped by Grayson Allen, the latest in a series of Duke players opposing fans love to hate. Luckily for the Bulldogs, Mason was able to dish the ball to a teammate for an easy layup as he fell.
The refs failed to see the trip, but the internet did not. Almost instantly, video of the incident began circulating online, and angry remarks flooded comment sections.
Of course, Allen and everyone at Duke will claim the incident was an accident. However, this was not the first time Allen tripped an opposing player this season. It was the third.
The first incident occurred in a game against Louisville on Feb. 8, when Allen tripped Raymond Spalding when Spalding attempted to bring the ball up after rebounding a missed Allen lay-up. Allen was issued a flagrant-1 foul.
Later that month, on Feb. 25, Allen blatantly tripped Florida State’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes in the closing seconds of a 15-point win. Given the game circumstances, the trip was completely unnecessary, and he was called for a foul and later reprimanded by the ACC for his actions, but not controversially not suspended.
The trip against Yale wasn’t nearly as blatant as the other two, but he still stuck his leg out intentionally. I understand that sometimes, games get heated and players act out of line, or fouls are committed unintentionally. However, when these events become a trend, no longer is it accidental, and no longer is it okay. In fact, he tripped Mason again later on in the first half, but disguised the act well enough that most people don’t even know that it happened. He’s out of control, and he should be punished.
When Allen wasn’t suspended following the Florida State game, many people on the internet, unsurprisingly, weren’t happy. However, Allen’s defenders claimed that the only reason this story keeps getting brought up is because Allen is a white Duke player. Normally, I’d tend to agree with this reasoning. Typically, we scrutinize every single action of the biggest name players, just waiting to find mistakes and crack down on them. In Allen’s case, he’s actually being cut more slack based on his persona.
Allen is not the only college basketball player involved in a tripping incident this season. Earlier in the year, Oregon State player Jarmal Reid intentionally tripped a referee in a loss to Utah in what was one of the most bone-headed plays I’ve ever seen. Reid was issued a flagrant-2, ejected from the game, and later received a four-game suspension for his actions. The situation here is a bit different. A referee is an NCAA employee, whereas a player technically is not, so the punishment for tripping a referee would naturally be more severe. However, Allen and Reid were both putting other people on the court in situations where they could be injured. It’s simply ridiculous that Allen has received just one flagrant foul for all of his trips.
People don’t learn from breaking the rules unless they are actually punished. When Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suarez bit Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, he was banned from participating in all matches for four months, among other suspensions and fines. Chiellini was Suarez’ third victim, just as Mason was to Allen.
At this point, I believe the proper course of action from the NCAA would be to suspend Allen from Duke’s Sweet Sixteen matchup Thursday against Oregon. With this year likely being Allen’s last at Duke before he enters the NBA, action needs to be taken now.
But it won’t be. Duke certainly wouldn’t suspend their best player for the most important game of the season, and the NCAA wouldn’t either, as having Allen sit would