It sounds so alluring you almost want it to be true: a tough Ohio Sate sophomore named Jae'Sean Tate slapped the floor so hard he aggravated a shoulder injury, causing him to miss the remainder of the season.
The floor slap is a college basketball cliché signifying how locked-in a defender is as the opponent brings the ball up. The practice is subject to much eye-rolling, and this whole angle makes Tate's injury some flavor of ironic. He wanted to show how present he is, and caused himself to be absent.
Only that's actually not what happened. Tate injured himself like most basketball players injure themselves: by playing basketball. An Ohio State spokesperson confirmed to SB Nation Wednesday that Tate slapping the floor was not what caused his shoulder injury.
The Columbus Dispatch is the source of both the actual news that Tate hurt himself earlier in the game and the wild speculation that the floor slap contributed to the injury. Here's what the Dispatch says about Tate's pre-existing injury and the aggravation during a game against Nebraska:
[Tate] was removed from a game Saturday at Nebraska with 1:47 left in the first half in obvious pain. After reaching around a defender to throw a pass with his dominant, left hand, Tate ran up the floor and immediately came out of the game.
An unfortunate but mundane injury for Tate. Later in the piece, the Dispatch offers a bit of speculation that led to the later reports from various websites about the floor slap:
He appeared to aggravate the injury during the final minutes of the second half when he pounded the court while guarding Tai Webster beyond the three-point arc.
Tate came away from the play grimacing and after talking with coach Thad Matta on the sideline was taken out for four seconds before returning and playing the remainder of the second half and the entirety of overtime.
The Dispatch reports that a basketball play caused Tate to leave the game immediately in the first half, and speculates that the floor slap aggravated it further. And now we have headlines and tweets claiming the floor slap caused him to miss the rest of the season. That line metastasized into the current inaccurate narrative about the source of Tate's injury.
For what it's worth, Tate himself has addressed the reports.
To clarify I did not hurt my shoulder from slapping the floor...happened weeks ago— Jt#1 (@o_tate_) February 24, 2016
That said, the floor slap did go horribly wrong for Tate: the player he intended to defend blew right by him as he was doing his thing.
life comes at you fast pic.twitter.com/KWmSdzRn40— jack (@jackhaveitall) February 21, 2016
As such, the lesson of this incident remains the same: never try.
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