This weekend Oklahoma State University point guard Marcus Smart was involved in an ugly incident with a fan, at the end of his team’s loss to Texas Tech University. Smart was knocked to the floor under the basket, and while he was getting up, Tech fan Jeff Orr got his attention by saying something ugly. Smart alleges that a racial epithet was used, some on Twitter speculated that Orr told him to “go back to Africa”, but Orr stated that he called Smart “a piece of crap”. Smart reacted to Orr by pushing him, and he was pulled out of the stands and off of the court by teammates. This incident became the second time this season that Marcus allowed his emotions to get the best of him on the court.
Kicking a chair, as he did a few weeks ago isn’t a big deal. Putting hands on a fan is. Marcus Smart, a sophomore, will likely be a top 10 NBA Draft pick this June. While pushing a fan will likely not damage his draft stock, he should raise questions in the eyes of general managers and coaches as to how he handles adverse situations. You have to keep your emotions in check, and this is one example of Smart not being able to do that. Marcus, 19 years old, came back to Oklahoma State in order to improve his draft stock. He was a likely top 5 pick last season, and he may be frustrated due to the fact that there has been a slide in his play this season and his team isn’t perfoming at it’s best. However, taking out that frustrations in a public manner does not help his situation. While I understand the need to confront Jeff Orr, he definitely hurt himself in the process.
However, I do not place the blame completely on Marcus. Pushing is wrong, but you know what else is wrong? These loud mouths screaming obscenities and trying to rattle opposing players are wrong. Just because you paid the price of admission does not give you the license to be an asshole. Jeff Orr is a legend at Texas Tech for doing all of the wrong things. After the Smart incident, other Orr incidents came to light from the mouths of other opposing players. The guy is a jerk. Can’t say it better than that. From giving the finger, giving the big “F you” salute, and from allegedly using racial taunts to other players. Orr has a history, and what does Texas Tech do? Nothing. What did Jeff Orr do? He “voluntarily” gave up his season tickets for the rest of this season. Come on! It’s February. The regular season for college basketball ends in two or three weeks. What does he miss? 5 home games? Less? His self imposed punishment is no punishment at all. It’s not even a slap on the wrist. It’s like a mosquito bite. It’s small, it nags, but it’s no big deal in the long run.
I have to be honest. I laughed the first time I saw this on SportsCenter. Why did I laugh? Before I knew what set Smart off, I laughed at the lady that was with Orr that pointed at Smart before he was pulled back on to the court. Why did she point? She gave him “it was him, officer” point. We know it was Marcus. He was the only player that was in the stands. Did she really need to stand there, mouth wide open, and point at Marcus like he was an animal in the zoo? Was that really necessary? That got a chuckle out of me. At first. Then anger set in. Why? I don’t believe Jeff Orr for a second. I can’t read lips but I don’t see him calling Marcus a piece of crap. Sorry, he looks like a good ole Texas boy, and I really want to believe something racist came out of his mouth.
However . . . you can’t put hands on the man. You got to walk away in a situation like that. I know that’s not the manly thing to do, and it wouldn’t be your first instinct but pushing him wasn’t smart of Marcus Smart. Now, he’s been suspended for three games, he’ll likely receive some scrutiny through the NBA Draft process and he had to apologize to a man, that he’d probably would punch in the face if all things were fair. The whole incident just wasn’t smart of Marcus Smart.
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