Florida State coach's defense of Grayson Allen actually makes 'shove' look worse
Grayson Allen shoved an opposing coach? Actually, he didn't, according to that very coach
Another game, another Grayson Allen video that the world now needs to dissect.
In this instance, an opposing coach is getting out in front of the issue and vehemently defending Duke's polarizing star. The Blue Devils were badly beaten by Florida State on Tuesday night, 88-72. (There's plenty of actual basketball-related content from that game I wrote about, and you can absorb it here.)
But now, in the aftermath, Allen and his body-movement tendencies have become the story yet again. His hustle-play collision with FSU assistant Dennis Gates has led to Zapruder film-level analysis. In a plot twist, Allen's legs aren't the problem here; it's his arms that are being examined. "Did Allen push a Florida State assistant coach as he was falling out of bounds?"
This is the urgent question being asked. Here's the Twitter video that went viral.
Gates isn't having any of it, calling it a "basketball play" to ESPN.com and posting a message on Twitter that tries to remove any blame from Allen.
"We teach kids to run down loose balls and make hustle plays," Gates said. "That's what he did. He was just trying to get back in the play.
"Out of reaction, he put his hands up to protect himself," he continued. "He didn't push me. He was just protecting himself."
Gates also told ESPN there was no verbal exchange from Allen.
"No words were exchanged on the play," he said. "It was just a basketball play."
Here's Gates' statement on Twitter from Wednesday morning.
The collision came with approximately six minutes remaining in the game. If this was any other player in America, anyone besides Grayson Allen, it would not be a story. But now, whenever Allen makes contact with anyone on the court that isn't a 100-percent natural basketball movement, it's going to be scrutinized and pointed to. He's had three major, deliberate tripping incidents, served a one-game suspension, and this past weekend had a quasi mule kick while fighting through a screen against Boston College.
The ACC's subsequent statement on the Boston College non-incident concluded there was nothing ill-willed about Allen's body movement.
All this was backdrop for Allen's first road game in the ACC this season. He was incessantly (and reasonably) booed whenever he touched the ball on Tuesday night. Fans brought many insulting signs to the game as well. Here's the key thing to note: Gates wasn't asked to put out a statement. This story actually legitimized itself the second Gates sent that tweet out. By acknowledging the collision and maybe-shove from Allen, Gates only enhanced the story.
But the fact Gates did this -- that he came out and supported Allen so definitively without any prompt to do so -- should tell you how far we've gone with all things Allen. A proactive move to the wave of reaction that was to come and has now crashed. If the play had been malicious or if Gates thought Allen was out of line, he would not have been prone to publishing that tweet.
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