Everything We Don't Know About Justin Flowe's Status for Ohio State
A Ditch Rich deep dive investigation into whatever the hell happened on Twitter today.
Ditch Rich isn’t in the rumor business, but it also isn’t any business of any kind—so why put a label on it?
In case you missed it, Wednesday consisted of Duck fans, random sources, and the ever-trusty message boards speculating about the alleged injury status of star Oregon linebacker, Justin Flowe.
Come along with me as I walk you through my exact experience this afternoon as I uncovered, debunked, and panicked about these concerning rumors:
I first became curious when I read a completely random comment from a user known as epistaxis on the Oregon fansite, Addicted to Quack:
“Damn it all. Rumors circulating on paid insider boards Justin Flowe broke his foot yesterday. We’ll know today for sure.”
So, that was my first warning sign. I had no idea who epistaxis was, but their comment was enough to make me curious and worried. I needed to investigate further.
I headed over to the Hardcore Husky message board, Duck Refuge, and I found a post with the tongue-in-cheek title of:
“Conference's second* best edge rusher out with broken foot. Plus Flowe is out for the year.”
*This is a tiny Husky fan in-joke, implying that Kayvon Thibodeaux is the second best edge rusher in the Pac-12 to UDub's Zion Tupuola-Fetui.
When you speak fluent Hardcore Husky like I do, you’re able to decipher the truth through all the pettiness and shade, and I was not reassured by this comment that seemed to affirm Justin Flowe’s alleged injury.
And on top of that (according to HH) now I also had to worry about KT again? When I had already told myself he was going to be fine for this week?
I had to keep digging.
I started my own thread on the Ducks subreddit, searching for crowdsourced answers and corrections.
Within a few minutes of scouring Twitter for the word, “Flowe,” I had come across a handful of tweets that put my worries at bay—if only for the briefest of moments.
The above tweet is just one of many, but I’m using it to illustrate this small point in time as it pertained to the investigation.
According to this “new information” circulating around Twitter, it was actually Jonathan Flowe—Justin’s younger brother—who was the alleged owner of the alleged broken foot.
Alright, okay, so apparently it was just a big game of telephone! Someone must have confused the brothers for one another! Or Hardcore Husky was playing a trick on me by intentionally just saying Flowe! Same last name! Easy mistake!
Obviously it sucks whenever anyone gets injured, but if it were Jonathan, it would objectively be the better of the two outcomes. Justin is a starter right now, and he already missed all of last season. Little brother would have time to heal, and he’d be able to step up for the Ducks in due time.
So, crisis averted, right?
Well, then Wednesday’s practice ended around noon.
I am a man of honor, so I won’t disclose any of my two key sources for this next part, but we’ll call one of them, “News Guy,” and we’ll call the other one, “Duck Throat.”
News Guy was my first contact, and he said that he watched the young Jonathan Flowe walk out of practice under his own power.
He also mentioned that the abnormal setup of the media scrum made it almost impossible for anyone to spot any other players as they left the practice fields. He referred to the scene as, “locked down.”
Cristobal also gave an unusually shortened post-practice press conference, in which he mentioned that Kayvon was still, “day-by-day,” and then he continued to say that he tries to communicate about injuries, but that in some situations he would like to play it, “close to the vest.”
Then he was asked a question about the depth behind Justin Flowe—who is already standing in for the injured Dru Mathis—and all of the sudden, the PR guy for Oregon called out, “last question,” and ended the whole thing before anyone could ask the direct question on everyone’s minds:
“Mario, is Justin Flowe’s foot broke?”
So, News Guy told us two key things: 1) Jonathan Flowe is probably not injured, and 2) the athletic department was on high alert/ghost protocol/cone of silence duty after practice today.
My other source, Duck Throat, is basically Autzen’s Master of Whisperers, and when asked directly if Justin Flowe had broken his foot, he just said: “I think it’s a sprain…”
Duck Throat is almost as much of a mystery to me as he is to you all—and I’m not entirely sure he wasn’t mixing up KT and Flowe—so I won’t put too much stock in that response.
But a good detective sees the whole board.
And that’s where our valiant search ends—as of Wednesday evening.
I’m not sure if we’ve truly learned anything new after all that, but it sure has been a fun ride to this point. Rumors, wild speculation, widespread panic. All of it is wonderful, and all of it is very fitting for college football.
Maybe KT is more hurt than we thought, or maybe he’s totally fine.
And maybe Justin Flowe is heartbreakingly hurt again, or maybe he’s also totally fine.
It’s fun to play True Crime, but I’m not sure we’ll uncover anything of actual value unless Mario Cristobal decides he wants us to know it. And that moment might not come until 9 AM pst on Saturday.
But the search for truth must go on!