College Basketball Insider

Regardless of what that fan said, Marcus Smart was wrong to react

More on Smart: Smart shoves Texas Tech fan | Metta's take | Twitter reacts

"I'm still trying to figure it out," is how Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford answered a question late Saturday about Marcus Smart pushing a fan in a loss at Texas Tech.

And the same goes for all of us, doesn't it?

We're still trying to figure this out.

What did the fan say to Smart?

What did Smart say back?

What led the preseason Big 12 Player of the Year to cross a line, both literally and figuratively, and shove a spectator late in Oklahoma State's fourth consecutive loss? The most likely scenario has us never knowing for sure because there will almost certainly be multiple versions of this story. It'll devolve into a he-said/he-said situation, I'd bet. Regardless, know this: No matter what the man said or did, Marcus Smart was wrong to put his hands on a fan, and the sophomore guard should be punished for it.

That's not even debatable in my mind.

There are certain things players simply cannot do without repercussions, and physically engaging fans is quite clearly one of those things. So, no matter what the man said or did, Smart was in the wrong when he reacted the way he reacted. That's why he should be suspended by Oklahoma State and/or the Big 12 in the next 36 hours, and that's why I think he will be suspended by Oklahoma State and/or the Big 12 in the next 36 hours.

Got that?

Good.

Now let's talk about Jeff Orr.

That's the name of the fan Smart shoved.

Fans flooded the floor at Texas Tech -- while Smart will still trying to explain his case. (USATSI)
Fans flooded the floor at Texas Tech while Smart was still trying to explain his case. (USATSI)

According to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Orr "lives in Waco and travels to most Tech home games and several road contests." He also deserves some blame here because unless you think Smart just up and shoved a random dude for nothing, then we can agree that Orr must've said or did something to set Smart off. Again, no excuses; Smart was wrong to react the way he reacted. But I've long believed it's a weird deal when adults think it's OK to yell ridiculous stuff at other adults in basketball arenas simply because they paid a significant amount of money for a ticket. I mean, in what other walk of life is it socially acceptable to yell inappropriate things at strangers? Should it really be OK at college basketball games? These are issues that need to be addressed, I think. And if Orr was undeniably out of line, and Texas Tech knows it, then school officials should suspend him the same way Oklahoma State and/or the Big 12 will presumably soon be suspending Smart.

Either way, this is bad -- especially for Smart.

When he announced he was delaying an opportunity to be a lottery pick in the NBA Draft to return to school, Smart explained how he wanted to lead Oklahoma State to a Final Four and just have fun for another year. Fast-forward to the present, and a Final Four seems unlikely for a team that's lost five of its past six games. And fun? I can't tell you the last time it looked like Smart was having fun, and I can't imagine his dreams ever included a February suspension triggered by a reputation-damaging incident caught live on national television.

 
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