In lieu of his questionable actions Saturday night, Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart was handed a three game suspension on Sunday by the Big 12, as announced by his coach earlier in the day. Late in the game of a frustrating loss to Texas Tech, Smart fell into the crowd located behind one of the baskets in the United Spirit Arena. Among the ruckus, a fan by the name of Jeff Orr yelled something offensive at the All-American, and Smart would have none of it.
Already in a less-than-stellar mood from how the basketball game was going, Smart lost control of his emotions and gave the fan a two-handed shove and was quickly pulled away by his teammates who attempted to calm him down. A technical was given to Smart, but he was not ejected from the game.
Seemingly amused by his actions, Orr could be seen smiling and laughing after Smart was pulled away. Smart was not smiling, though, as he pleaded his case to his coaches and the officials. It was assumed by many that Orr yelled a racial slur at Smart and that it caused him to lose his cool. Orr denies doing this, and his claim is backed up by an audio recording or the event that was released on Sunday, in which you can hear the phrase “piece of crap” yelled out by Orr.
“I want to apologize for calling Mr. Smart a ‘piece of crap’ but I want to make it known that I did not use a racial slur of any kind,” – said Orr in a recent media release.
But let’s be honest. Who are we kidding? Smart’s character has never been an issue in the past. In fact, coaches and players for OSU regularly praise Smart for his exemplary leadership skills. That being said, why would such a player ever assault a fan for simply calling him a “piece of crap?” Harsher things have probably been yelled at him in middle school. The answer simply is this, and what many of us can assume happened; Orr did yell a racial slur and refuses to admit it. Who can blame him though? The man already has a bad reputation as an unruly fan, and admitting that he did utter “the word” would only worsen that reputation and most likely get him fired from whatever job he currently holds.
So, for the sake of argument, let’s say that Orr didn’t scream a racial slur. That means that Smart did indeed shove Orr in response to the phrase “piece of crap” and we can all agree that this would be an extreme overreaction. Would a three game suspension be adequate in this case? Of course not, and the Big 12 knows it. They are aware that Orr is more than likely lying and aren’t holding Smart accountable for it, which is the right thing to do. It would be unfair to suspend Smart more than he has to be because Orr would not own up to his mistake.
In any case, shoving a fan is way over the line and deserves a suspension such as this one. The three game suspension he was given is harsh enough to where he will learn a lesson, but subtle enough that the Cowboys’ season won’t go down the toilet if they lose all three. Ironically, Smart’s first game back will be against Texas Tech, luckily for Smart, the game will be played in Stillwater.
Assuming Smart declares for the draft at the end of the year, I don’t think that this incident will hurt his draft stock. He gave a very sincere apology the day after it happened and he’s keeping his mouth shut and not trying to draw any more media attention to him, which is a very mature thing of him to do. And, as we all know, the NBA could use a little more maturity nowadays.