Marcus Smart suspended three games for shoving Texas Tech fan
Oklahoma State All-American Marcus Smart will be suspended for the Cowboys' next three games as punishment for shoving a fan during Saturday's loss at Texas Tech, a source told CBSSports.com on Sunday.
ESPN.com is also reporting the development.
Smart was given a technical foul but not ejected after he abruptly shoved a Texas Tech fan named Jeff Orr in the final moments of a 65-61 loss in Lubbock. Exactly what Orr said to provoke Smart remains unclear. Oklahoma State State has lost four straight heading into Tuesday's game at Texas.
"I want to apologize to the fan, whose name is Jeff Orr, I want to apologize to him, my teammates, my coach," Smart said at a press conference Sunday evening in Stillwater, Okla. "This is not how I condone myself. I just can't let that happen again. It's a lesson I'll have to learn from. It's all upon me. I truly apologize to all those that are important to me. I feel I let my teammates down."
Smart did not take questions after making a brief statement. OSU coach Travis Ford also made a statement and did take questions. He was extremely strong in his support for Smart's character.
"I know Marcus Smart. I've been around him pretty much on a daily basis for two years, and undoubtedly, no question, was not one of his finer moments," Ford said. "But Marcus Smart has had many great moments as a person, as a player, and I know Marcus Smart's heart. I know how he's hurting. I know how regretful he is right now. Those are the things that make me love Marcus Smart. Marcus knows he made a big mistake last night."
When Ford was asked to go into detail on what provoked Smart to attack Orr, he opted not to respond.
Ford added, "The majority of the time, the highest percentage of the time, he's conducted himself as a tremendous young man. But he's made a mistake. ... I am very confident, extremely confident, because I do know Marcus Smart, when he comes back ... he's going to gain everybody else's trust that he's lost. ... Marcus has my full support. Unwavering support."
In a statement from Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, he said, “Mr. Smart’s actions were a clear violation of the Big 12 Conference’s Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Policy. Such behavior has no place in athletics, and will not be tolerated. I appreciate the efforts of Oklahoma State University athletics director Mike Holder in addressing this matter, and believe this is an appropriate response to an inappropriate action.”
Smart is averaging 17.5 points and 5.7 rebounds this season. Last year he was considered by many to be a top-five NBA pick. Instead, he opted to return to college to improve his game. Oklahoma State, now 16-7 overall, was a preseason top 10 team.
"This is not me, and I really do apologize for it," Smart said. "I'll take responsibility and the consequences that come with it."
OSU's next three games: at Texas, vs. Oklahoma, at Baylor. He will return for the team's home game on Feb. 22 against Texas Tech.
Matt Norlander contributed to this story.
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