The double standard between the Duke basketball program and the rest of the country was on display once again.
Duke basketball is the gold standard of the college basketball world, and there is no longer a debate about that.
Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski was crucified throughout the sport for expressing his opinion, which he has stated since the summer, that the NCAA needs to reevaluate playing in a pandemic.
The Hall of Famer’s comments were twisted out of context as many received his statement as wanting to cancel the season after Duke (3-2, 1-0 ACC) had dropped two non-conference games at home.
Alabama head coach Nate Oats took a public jab at Krzyzewski, and the 73-year-old led every sports talk show the following day after the Blue Devils fell to then-No. 6 Illinois.
Fletcher reportedly threw a tantrum on the bench after he did not receive as much playing time as he would have liked in Kentucky’s (1-5, 0-0 SEC) loss to North Carolina on Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats have arguably been the worst major-conference team this season, having lost five games in a row and becoming a national laughingstock.
Yes, Calipari’s comments and actions were met with backlash inside the college basketball circles, but nowhere close to the public flogging of Mike Krzyzewski for saying the season needs to be reevaluated in the midst of a global pandemic.
There was no segment on SportsCenter, First Take, Get Up, etc.
There was no national outcry.
There was no questioning the integrity of John Calipari.
There was nothing.
Duke basketball has also shown how to internally discipline a player
The last time the Blue Devils had to punish a player, it was Grayson Allen following another tripping incident, but Duke also had a time where it had to dismiss a player in Rasheed Sulaimon during the 2014-15 season.
Granted, the situations between Cam’Ron Fletcher and Rasheed Sulaimon seem to be extremely different, but there was no fanfare when Krzyzewski dismissed the former McDonald’s All-American or suspended Allen.
Krzyzewski released the following statement regarding the dismissal of Rasheed Sulaimon:
“Rasheed has been unable to consistently live up to the standards required to be a member of our program. It is a privilege to represent Duke University, and with that privilege comes the responsibility to conduct oneself in a certain manner. After Rasheed repeatedly struggled to meet the necessary obligations, it became apparent that it was time to dismiss him from the program.”
As for Grayson Allen’s situation, which is more relatable to Fletcher for the tantrums both players threw on the bench, the Hall of Famer said this following the incident:
“We have had the opportunity to thoroughly review the incident involving Grayson Allen from last night’s game against Elon. As I stated last night, the incident was unacceptable and inexcusable. He took an important step last night by apologizing in person to Steven Santa Ana and Coach Matt Matheny. As a program, we needed to take further steps regarding his actions that do not meet the standards of Duke Basketball. To that end, we have determined that Grayson will be suspended from competition for an indefinite amount of time.”
A little different than publicly calling out the priorities of an 18-year-old kid, wouldn’t you say?
Imagine if Mike Krzyzewski posted a thread of tweets, like Calipari, for disciplining a player.
The backlash would be incomprehensible, but that’s just how the double standard in college basketball works for any program not named Duke.