During a teleconference with media members Wednesday, ESPN college basketball analysts Dick Vitale and Seth Greenberg were asked if they felt the media had provided fair coverage of Duke’s Grayson Allen for his various tribulations.
I thought you might enjoy what they had to say:
DICK VITALE: “Well, I think first of all, number one, I think he has really created the problem. He created a problem. It’s not the first time, not the second, the third time. And right now he’s created a monster for himself. He’s put an incredible monster on his back that he’s going to have to deal with everywhere he goes, and unfortunately, some people get carried away.
“I’m a great believer in giving people second chances. I’m a great believer, I’ve made mistakes in my life. I think many of us on this call have made mistakes in your life, and today with the scrutiny, it’s unbelievable, especially today in the day we live with the social media, with the Twitters and Facebooks and everything that’s happened out there.
“You just see it right now what’s going on in the NFL. A player in the locker room is there, Brown, their star player, and he’s putting on Facebook, streaming a locker room quote by coaches, using locker room language, et cetera, which, you know, has created a nightmare for them getting ready to play the biggest game of the year for them, and the same thing now with Allen. Everywhere he goes, people think it’s cool to get on him and think it’s cool to jump all over him, to ridicule him.
And then they talk about punishment, all right. They talk about punishment. I don’t know this for a fact, but I was a coach, and if I had to leave my team because I had to go for surgery, I’m not going to allow the new coach to have to put up every day with the scrutiny of an evaluation, when will he play, will he be eligible, will he — not eligible, will he be taken off the suspension, when is he going to come off.
“So Mike Krzyzewski, who has a little better record than I do, is a Hall of Famer in every way, I happen to know Mike really well from my work with him with the V Foundation, and he decided to discipline the kid by himself as a teacher, as a coach, working with the kid one-on-one, and he disciplined him.
“A lot of people don’t know all the discipline that went on, but he disciplined him but he didn’t want to burden Jeff Capel to have to deal with every day when will he will he start, when will he play, will he play today, will he play tomorrow, and I just think that — I know myself, I find it really mindboggling, cursing out a kid, and you expect some of that, but some of the stuff you read and hear is absurd. I even heard somebody mention something of the fact that in today’s day and age, somebody should punch him out. Give me a break, preaching violence. What is that all about? What is that all about?
“I think sometimes people get a little carried away. He’s made a mistake. He’s responsible. He’s accountable, and he should definitely be accountable for what he did, but he’s going to have to live with that. But I think the time comes for some people to have a little feeling and understand that sometimes kids do make mistakes.”
SETH GREENBERG: “The only thing I would add to that is I think where we’ve missed the boat is — yeah, the kid is accountable for his actions, but to me it has nothing to do with the number of games, and I don’t even call it discipline. I think more importantly than discipline, obviously he has an issue. I was most disturbed by his reaction when he was on the bench when he was taken out of the Elon game. You saw a young man in pain. You saw a kid that was hurting, and instead of discipline, look, what he did was wrong, but I think the one thing we’ve got to be cognizant of and aware of is that let’s help him, because in the game of basketball, you can react in that way when things don’t go your way or the pressure, which he’s under tremendous pressure, but more importantly, what’s going to happen 10 years from now if something happens and unfortunately he reverts back to making a bad decision.
“You know, to me, look, I believe the league should have handled, quote-unquote, the discipline part of it because I don’t think that’s really the issue, that that should be handled by the league, but more importantly, let’s help him, and someone needs to back off and help him create a mechanism to deal with whatever is pushing him to behave in that manner. I think we lose sight of that because there’s things bigger than basketball, and there are things more important than the number of games he’s going to sit out. More important than that is finding a mechanism for him to deal with whatever gets him to react in the way he’s reacted.”
DICK VITALE: “I want to echo those sentiments. I think you did a great job, Seth, in the studio when you broke down, whether it was the scrutiny that he may have kicked a kid when he came back, you talked about his leg flailing, about going over a screen, legs come — I mean, everything is being watched.
“But I agree with what Seth said about — and I think that has been done. I think there’s been conversation with people that really understand the emotions, what goes on in life and trying to help him in every way. But it’s up to him to help himself, obviously.
“I just can’t say enough, and to be honest with you, I’m rooting for the kid. I root for anybody that really sincerely in their heart wants to — fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice, shame on you, as the saying goes, and I just really hope and pray that he turns the corner and that he understands that he can’t act in that manner because it’s going to be unbelievable what he’s going to have to live with, especially if he goes to the next level, the NBA.”