Now let's move on.
In the crash and rush of today's social-media driven frenzy, it's too easy for condemnation to ramp up to a place of perverse pleasure. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that you can make real mistakes and still not be defined by them for life. We should remember that, especially with a college player clearly trying to figure out why he does what he does.
"Our media and social media, all of it's built on those kinds of stories because that's what'll get the most likes or favorites or retweets."
That's Matt Driscoll, the basketball coach at North Florida. He knows Allen, has traded texts with him since the kicking incidents, and sees in those incidents the same hustle and competitiveness that caught his eye years ago. He offered the guard a scholarship when Allen was in eighth grade. Driscoll has a nuanced take on Allen and what has happened, one we would all be well-advised to hear.
"I think it started out that way, where people would say, 'He's the next Duke bad guy' or whatever. But I think, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. I think now it's actually beyond that. Now he's become a villain. He's become a person that people want to look at every single thing and try to decipher anything that he's going to do wrong. And the problem is he's aware of that. So you have to wonder how much this is weighing on him. Hopefully he's getting help and talking to someone who's a professional and can help him through this."
Yes. That's exactly right. This is on Allen, and there's no one to blame but him. But we're all talking about the well-being of a person who hasn't committed a crime or shamed himself or his school. It's complicated. So let's all back off, calm down and judge him when we look back three or 12 or 24 months from now. Let's grasp for perspective, something too often lost in the hot-headed world of sports media and fandom.
A recent overreaction came last week when Allen supposedly shoved Florida State assistant coach Dennis Gates while trying to chase down a loose ball.
Give. Me. A. Freaking. Break.
Oregon star Dillon Brooks kicked someone in the private parts that same week, and there was no fevered outcry. Allen got the brunt of the anger and resentment, even though the coach in question told everyone to relax.
"I did not in anyway feel attacked nor disrespected as the media and others are portraying Grayson Allen's character and hustle," Gates wrote in a statement on Twitter. "Stop judging on hand placement. All I view it to be is 'A GREAT HUSTLE PLAY.'"
He's right, but there's more going on here. We can judge a person's actions in the moment and assess right and wrong. But it's something else entirely to try to assess the person himself -- his character, his makeup, who he is or always will be based on a mere moment.
Especially considering that what Allen did is, in the grand scheme of things, not that big a deal. How far has it gone? Allen is the subject of scrutiny even when he's on the receiving end, like last Saturday at Louisville, when he got smacked in the face on another hustle play, and the social media world stopped. As Driscoll said he texted Allen after he was suspended for a game: "Look man you didn't rob, rape or pillage. However, you got an issue."
He does. So let's pull back the schadenfreude. And let's remember other players who, in the heat of the moment, have done much worse. And then, rightfully, been allowed to move on with their character and reputation in tact.
Serge Ibaka punched Blake Griffin in the balls. Not cool. But we all moved on. Blake, remember, once broke his hand punching a friend and Clippers employee on the head. Utterly unacceptable, but I'm not about to say that makes Blake Griffin a bad human being. Are you? We all make mistakes -- all of us -- but what we learn from them defines us as much as anything we do.
Speaking of attacking a man's private parts and the need to learn from it, Draymond Green clearly has had an issue. He missed a key NBA Finals game because of it. But he's still widely respected, a leader capable of getting in Kevin Durant's face when necessary -- doing so to near universal praise.
There was Shaq and Barkley fighting on an NBA floor. Kevin McHale clothes-lining Kurt Rambis. The list goes on and on. Sports are emotional. Athletes lose their cool. Crap happens.
Even incidents that cross the line don't necessarily define those who cross it. LeGarrette Blount cold-cocked a guy in college, an act of violence that deserved utter and total condemnation. But that's not the same thing as condemning the man. Blount has moved on, seems to have learned from that mistake and when he tries to help his New England Patriots advance to another Super Bowl this weekend the focus will be on his football, not his past.
Good. Second chances matter to those who get them, and should matter to those who can give them.
Let's give Grayson Allen the same consideration.
Let's do the thing so many are struggling to do in 2017: Accept Allen's mistakes, put them in real perspective, and hold our judgment on the guy until well down the road.