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Angel in Devil’s Shoes, Part Two

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Duke's Grayson Allen. Photo: USA Today Sports

Oi! For those unfamiliar – this is an interjection – also spelled and/or pronounced “oy.” The meaning of this delightful little word can be anything from bliss to panic. Or simply, “yes,” or “hello.” {For your reference – “yes” or “hello” is “oi” in Portuguese}. But, where last we left off, in Part One of this segment – we mentioned Grayson Allen in the company of angels in devil shoes. Oh my! There it is – Oi! Still, let’s pick up right there…

A couple of years ago, SI.com published a touching story of Allen’s personal life – a tribute to a childhood friend who became like a brother to the young Grayson.

But oh, so much has happened since then…

To contextualize for a moment – Grayson Allen is a college basketball star. He has earned that label after years of competing at college basketball’s highest level, and contributing significantly to Duke’s most recent national championship, in April, 2015. He has been among the top scorers in the ACC, and he has earned high praise from his famed coach, Mike Krzyzewski.

But not always…

Because, something may have gone completely and totally haywire…

Grayson Allen recently got suspended.

Rat-ta-tat-tat…That staccato sound of repetition…Wow! He was such an angel! He still is though, right?

But, y’see – now there’s these tripping incidents…

What!!??!!

Yup.

Grayson Allen just can’t seem to help himself. Starting in early February 2016, Allen delivered a “tripping people barrage” that has started to look a lot like a powder keg giving off sparks. What we have now are three relatively consistent instances, spaced not too far apart, of Grayson Allen completely losing his sense of self-control, and in unbridled passion, he has kicked out at three fellow collegiate basketball players.

Rat-ta-tat-tat…

February 8, 2016 – Allen clearly and deliberately trips Ray Spalding, an opponent playing for the University of Louisville…

February 26, 2016 – Only 5 seconds left in a game Duke was winning by 15 points, and for some reason…Allen again clearly and deliberately trips Xavier, Rathan-Mayes, one of his opponents from Florida State…

Not his finest moments…

Aye, yi, yi!!! So the start of the 2016-2017 season rolls around, and Allen claims that his heart’s desire is to put all the tripping incidents behind him…

Well, of course…

But that’s not what happened…

What happened was that in December 2016, Elon’s Steven Santa Ana – got tripped! By one Grayson Allen, Duke Men’s basketball star, beloved young and favorite son of Duke fans the world over…

Aye, yi, yi! Oi, oi, oi!!

So why are we talkin’ about this now…

Well, not to besmirch the young lad – but, this week will be the two-month anniversary of Grayson Allen’s latest episode. And this is a cause – yes, a cause – to celebrate.

Y’see, here’s the deal – the public, particularly the sports consumer public, are more than willing, and more willing than ever – to forgive. Oh, they’re not gonna be able to forget anytime real soon, but they are ready to forgive. As much, and as many as there are haters – as people, the sports consumer public generally hopes for Grayson Allen to get past all this – for [at least] two (2) reasons: One, because c’mon, he’s still just a kid. We are merciful towards our young – this has been true for all of humankind’s existence. And, of course, number two (2), only slightly more selfishly, we want to consume what Grayson Allen appears to be able to provide for us to consume – great sports entertainment.

So – how do we get this fixed? Ahhh. There it is – what this is all about…

Can Grayson Allen live this down? Yes! Will it be easy? No! Time will help (thus our celebration of the two-month anniversary). And of course, the incidents will have to stop.

And they will. Yes, of course they will. There’s that lovely bit of life that comes with time – it’s called growing up. So, Grayson Allen will grow up, and will, more likely than not, be able to get past all the clattering of this.

But in the meantime, what’s the strategy…for moving forward positively, and perhaps even re-building the brand?

Easy peezy – not so quick and easy but, here it is…

Keep showing up…

Be proactive…

Ditch the excuses…

Own up to what happened…

But, don’t dwell on the past…

Assess the damage…

Frame the situation constructively…

Make up for the mistake(s)…

Don’t lose momentum…

Seize your moment to shine…

Or, as one of my own college professors used to say…

“Whatever you’re doing that’s right – keep it up. Whatever you’re doing that’s wrong – knock it off!”

In other words, get on out of those devil shoes and get on with your angel – pretty please?

Sources:

Boone, K. (2016). “Kick history.” CBS Sports Online, December 22, 2016. Available: http://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/a-brief-history-of-grayson-allens-dirty-tricks-capped-by-his-kick-vs-elon/, Retrieved February 20, 2017.

Hamilton, B. (2016) “Bond of brothers.” Sports Illustrated, January 21, 2016. Retrieved February 17, 2017.

Slayter, M. E. (2013). “Rebuilding your brand.” Recap: Premium B2B Content Marketing.  June 18, 2013. Available: http://repcapitalmedia.com/15-tips-for-rebuilding-your-brand-after-a-major-mistake/ Retrieved: February 20, 2017.

By Dr. Rodney J. Blackman

Dr. Rodney J. Blackman is the Chair of Recreation Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at rblackman@ussa.edu.

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