The news came down shortly after 5 p.m. Central Time as the Big 12 Conference informed Oklahoma State University officials that star guard and 2013 All-American Marcus Smart was suspended three games for shoving 50-something Texas Tech superfan Jeff Orr.
“This is not how I condone myself…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”, as Smart showed a lot of remorse during his press conference. Clearly, this student will have plenty of hurdles to go through–albeit not as dirty and as downright ugly as Metta World Peace (what we all knew him as the former Ron Artest) did for the NBA’s Indiana Pacers when he went into the stands and attacked a bunch of fans at the Palace of Auburn Hills way back in 2005.
Two points of irony going forward:
1. Smart will be able to practice with his teammates, but is unable to travel with the team on their two road games–a very tough test at Texas on Tuesday and Baylor on Saturday.
2. Smart will be eligible to play against…Texas Tech again.
But that game will be on Oklahoma State’s home court on February 22.
As for Jeff Orr, the Texas Tech super fan…he will skip attending the rest of the Red Raiders games for the remainder of the season. Whatever degree of inappropriateness the statement was directed at Marcus Smart in those closing seconds, his action is without precedent.
There are many times during any sporting event–college or pro, where some fans clearly cross the line. They say things that shouldn’t be uttered in any public place, let alone to people close to you.
In a separate statement, Orr commented,
“I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere apologies to Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, Tubby Smith and the Texas Tech Men’s Basketball program. My actions last (Saturday) night were inappropriate and do not reflect myself or Texas Tech – a university I love dearly. I regret 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. Additionally, I would like to offer my apologies to Texas Tech fans that have been embarrassed by the attention this incident has created.”
As far as the team and their play going forward, Oklahoma State is still on the proverbial Tournament Bubble:
16-7 overall, a meager 4-6 in Big 12 play (7th place in the league). Current RPI is 34 overall, but a lackluster 76 in Big 12 play. Their five prior losses before the Texas Tech debacle all came within a dozen points. In non-conference play, they beat handily Purdue, Butler, and West Virginia twice.
As we often hear when things are at their bleakest, it is not how you start–it is how you finish.
Clearly, the Oklahoma State Cowboys will be under the microscope way more than in the final moments before that shove took place.
We now return to our regular blog reports already in progress, as Syracuse looks to continue having a perfect season.