Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart Suspended Three Games for Shoving a Texas Tech Fan (Videos)
Last year, Marcus Smart was the talk of college basketball. The Oklahoma State point guard was considered one of the best freshman in the country early in the season, but by the time the NCAA Tournament rolled around people were saying he might be the best player period—and that was just because of his abilities on the court. The praise was even stronger for the kid’s character. Every story you heard was about how humble and dedicated Smart was. Then he decided not to enter the NBA draft and make millions of dollars instantly because, as he himself explained, he wanted to become a better player first.
That’s why everyone is making such a big deal about what happened Saturday night in Lubbock. During the closing moments of what would be a 65-61 loss to Texas Tech, Smart crashed into the first few rows of fans behind the basket after trying to block dunk. Then he got into an altercation with a Red Raiders fan and ended up pushing the guy with two hands before being pulled away by teammates.
As a result, Smart has been suspended for three games by Oklahoma State.
Take a look:
The referees didn’t eject Marcus for this, as they actually have no protocol for dealing with players who get into fights with fans. However, they did give him a technical, and he spent the remaining seconds of the game on the bench.
So what did the kid have to say for himself afterward? Well, according to one “source” inside the Oklahoma State basketball program, Smart initially told his coaches that the fan, an air traffic controller from Waco named Jeff Orr, called him a racial slur. However, no one at Oklahoma State ever made that claim publicly, and it has since been dispelled.
Orr did apologize profusely for his part in the incident and admitted to calling Smart a “piece of crap,” which is confirmed by this video released by Texas Tech:
As for Smart, he too was very contrite:
I want to apologize to the fan, whose name is Jeff Orr. I want to apologize to him. I want to apologize to my teammates, to my coaching staff, Coach Ford, my family, Oklahoma State University. This is not how I [conduct] myself, this is not how this program is run. This is not how I was raised. I let my emotions get the best of me.
Just can’t let that happen again. This is a lesson I’ll have to learn from. The consequences that are coming with it, I’m taking full responsibility. No finger pointing. This is all upon me.
I just want to really apologize to those that are very important to me. I feel like I let my teammates down. These guys mean a lot to me. Not to be able to be out there with them, it hits me in my heart. I have a lot of people that look up to me, a lot of little kids, so once again, I truly apologize. This is not me. I really do apologize for it. Like I said, I take full responsibility and the consequences that come with it.
Obviously, pro athletes have to learn to deal with hecklers and trash talk. It’s part of the game, and this wasn’t even a particularly nasty case of trash talking. “Piece of crap” is a far cry from “c******king m********ker.”
On the other hand, it’s important to remember that Smart is not a professional athlete. He’s just a 19-year-old kid who is, in fact, still learning to deal with the trash talk. And in this case, as his team was about to lose its fifth game in a row, a grown man called him a piece of crap. So cut him some slack. This wasn’t exactly the Malice at the Palace.
Hat Tip – [ESPN]