I will make a few points about the incident that occurred Saturday night when Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart shoved a Texas Tech fan, Jeff Orr, after Orr shouted something at Smart’s direction in the waning seconds of the Cowboys/Red Raiders basketball game. And after I finish this, I’m moving on, because this story is essentially over (except for a large number of people who will continue to keep making this a major news story).
Emotions run high in certain situations: family event, hostage crisis, wars, and yes, sports. What’s forgotten in this story is that the game was very competitive and emotions can run the gamut, for good and bad. The emotions got the best of both player and fan. That’s as simple as it gets.
Smart apologized for shoving the fan, and said it was his fault and his alone. Smart had to stand at a podium, in front of a microphone, a press corp, and live cameras to address the public. He showed maturity and contrite.
Orr, on the other hand, released a statement through Texas Tech’s athletic website. He didn’t stand in front of a microphone or cameras and publicly apologized. We haven’t seen him since he shouted at Smart before getting shoved. He stated that he “voluntarily agreed” to not attend any more Tech basketball games, home and away, for the rest of the season. “Voluntarily agreed” is code for “we know you said something bad. We want you to stay from our campus and the team, or you can kiss your season passes goodbye…forever.”
So, who’s the adult here?
Smart, because he faced the music, or Orr, who’s hiding because he’s embarrassed himself and the school with his past actions.
Jeff Orr is a grown adult. Marcus Smart is a young man.
People are saying that it’s sad this had to happen. I think we’re missing another angle.
I tell you what is more sad: the idea that an adult fan, or in Orr’s case a “super-fan”, can act boorish and feel like his or her admission ticket or season pass is a license to act like a jackass. Our society loves to lecture young adults and children about showing sportsmanship, civility, and good behavior. But we, as adults, can’t seem to police ourselves and practice what we preach.
How can we admonish Marcus Smart, a young 20-something college student, on his actions, when we can’t display good behavior ourselves, as adults?
Most of us attend sporting events for several core reasons: to support a team or player, school, and for the most part, to be entertained. There are, however, a group of fans who view going to sporting events “as a right” to get drunk, act belligerent, verbally, and at worst, physically attack an athlete, coach, or official.
Jeff Orr isn’t a fan, a “super-fan”, or a much beloved #1 Texas Tech fan. He’s a guy, over the age of 45 (I believe) who was allowed to get away with some antics, simply because of his reputation. This isn’t the first time he’s been caught doing or saying stuff to get under an opposing player’s skin. Individuals like Orr gives regular fans a bad name.
A 50-year-old man shouldn’t act and behave like a drunken 24-year-old d-bag.
It’s time for fans to start policing themselves and demand that these so-called “fans” who act badly either wise up or be removed. Fans want to have a good experience when watching sports in person. No one wants to have that experience sullied by a boorish lout or someone who does not respect other fans around them. Some fans have decided not to bring their children to games because of the excessive cursing and drunkenness.
If we expect athletes and coaches to conduct themselves with class and good behavior, then fans have no excuses to expect that of themselves.
I don’t care what was exactly said, or who edited the audio. Nor do I care if Orr wrote that apology or Tech wrote it up for him. The bottom line is that this incident happened, both Smart and Orr apologized for their actions and will accept the punishment given, and it’s time to move on.