College Sports

Grayson Allen wears a ‘don’t trip’ hat; Duke orders company to stop mocking him

Duke basketball guard Grayson Allen apparently went to a party recently wearing a hat with the words “don’t trip” on the side.

The hat is an apparent jest about his on-court play, which has been marred by allegations of tripping his opponents. Allen served a one-game suspension in December for tripping Elon’s Steven Santa Ana, and he was accused of tripping opponents twice the season before.

A screenshot circulating on social media shows Allen wearing the hat on the social media platform Snapchat. The photo has made its way onto the social news website Reddit.

Allen — like Duke predecessors J.J. Redick and Christian Laettner — is seen as a villain by some fans of other Triangle and ACC basketball teams.

He has had something of a target on his back since the tripping incidents, and finished with an average of 14.5 points per game this past season, a full 7 points lower than his 2015-16 sophomore season, when he averaged 21.6 points.

Meanwhile, Duke University has sent a cease-and-desist letter to a Florida clothing company, Smack Apparel, which has been making a T-shirt that reads “Yo Grayson...Why You Trippin’?”

The letter last month to Smack from Durham intellectual property attorney Susan Olive, and the response by Smack owner Wayne Curtiss, were posted this month on the website TMZ.

The university said in its letter that “Allen is a skilled and well-known athlete” and has not consented to allow Smack to use his image or likeness. The letter informed Smack that it is on notice and should stop using Allen’s image and name for commercial purposes.

Curtiss, in response, acknowledged that Allen is a skilled and well-known athlete. “However, he is also very well known for tripping other players when they are not looking,” he wrote.

He said he thought the T-shirt was critical commentary and satire, and therefore protected by the First Amendment. The shirt is still for sale on his website.

The Duke Chronicle caught up with Curtiss, who told the student newspaper that he wasn’t worried about being sued, and that his clothing company has produced T-shirts making light of well-publicized scandals in the past.

In 2014, after former Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was issued a civil citation for shoplifting $32 worth of crab legs and crawfish from a Tallahassee supermarket, Curtiss made a T-shirt advertising a fake crab restaurant: “Jameis’ Famous Crab Shack Emporium.”

He told the Chronicle that his company got a similar cease-and-desist letter from Florida State, but the university never took legal action against him.

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