by Jennifer Janicki
For our research paper, we have been analyzing Duke basketball player, Grayson Allen, as he attempts to repair his image following three intentional trippings of opposing players. His story has been covered extensively by sports media, mainly ESPN and CBS Sports. The coverage has been overwhelmingly negative, as has the general public’s response the incidents. Most discussion of Allen’s indiscretions has occurred on Twitter, with users posting their thoughts on the situation, mostly in a negative way to express their dissatisfaction with the punishment handed down to Allen or his actions in general.
To combat his negative public perception, Allen gave an apology during a post-game interview in the Duke locker room after the third trip. He employed the mortification strategy by apologizing for his actions and claiming responsibility. He apologized to the player he tripped, the officials calling the game and his teammates. The apology was captured on video and was very helpful in influencing public perception. Since viewers could clearly see he was upset, they felt sympathy for him and it gave his statements credibility and sincerity.
Additionally, Allen has been employing the bolstering strategy through his social media. In our research, we reviewed 286 Twitter posts and 54 Instagram posts. His posts could be divided into three main focuses: religious commitment, charitable outreach and team loyalty. He uses his sites to show the positive sides of his character and to humanize himself.
Allen doesn’t interact with other users often (except teammates), but has retweeted posts that are positively related to himself and Duke basketball or support a cause. By doing this, he reinforces the idea that people have forgiven him and moved past his mistakes.
As recently as this week, Allen attempted to minimize the situation by making fun of his mistakes by wearing a hat that read “don’t trip.” While this can be an effective tactic, it can also be seen as condescending and may reverse some of the progress he made through mortification.