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Dean of Students

Marcus Smart, Jeff Orr both in the wrong

Sam Isdale/Sports Columnist

Sam Isdale/Sports Columnist

Right before Oklahoma State’s loss to Texas Tech on Saturday, star of the Cowboys, Marcus Smart, was given a technical foul for shoving a Texas Tech fan in the stands. Later it was announced that Smart would be suspended for the next three games.

Many people are jumping on Smart’s back for his poor decision to put his hands on a fan. I agree that the 19-year-old’s decision wasn’t a good one, but what about the fan? Smart went after Texas Tech fan Jeff Orr after words were exchanged. Rumors on social media suggested that Orr used racial slurs, while other investigations showed that no racial slurs were used. Orr claims that he did not use a racial slur and only called Smart a “piece of crap,” but the only ones who will know what was truly said during the altercation is Smart and Orr themselves.

Both Smart and Orr are in the wrong by their actions, but what throws me off is the fact that Orr is the one who instigated it. Not only did Orr instigate the dispute, which ended in Smart shoving him, but Jeff Orr is 50 years old. Some can argue that Smart is still a kid that let his emotions get the best of him, but what is Orr’s excuse? No matter what sporting event one’s attending there will always be trash-talking fans, but I would think most of those fans would be younger and immature. Orr’s actions prove that immaturity exists at all ages.

I’m not by any means defending Smart’s action, because you should never put your hands on anyone else. Plus he’s a 6-4, 220 pound Division I athlete and things could have ended badly. One shove could have easily knocked someone backward and caused an ambulance to arrive at the scene. It could have also hurt others in the stands. I just don’t think Orr should have opened his mouth in the first place. Sports get competitive and when you’re a big fan you can get heated as well, but to avoid conflict why not just go by the old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?”

Easier said than done, I know. I’m just having a hard time forgetting that when you’re a 50-year-old man I believe you should know better. But Smart is taking full responsibility for what happened on Saturday.

“I want to apologize to the fan, whose name is Jeff Orr. I want to apologize to him. I want to apologize to my teammates, to my coaching staff, Coach Ford, my family, Oklahoma State University. This is not how I [conduct] myself; this is not how this program is ran. This is not how I was raised. I let my emotions get the best of me,” Smart said during a news conference on Sunday evening.

“Just can’t let that happen again. This is a lesson I’ll have to learn from. The consequences that are coming with it, I’m taking full responsibility. No finger pointing. This is all upon me.”

It was definitely the appropriate move for Smart to apologize to Orr and claim responsibility instead of placing the blame elsewhere. The only thing Smart can do now is learn from his mistake and not let his anger or emotions control his actions. At least he can learn his lesson now while he is 19.

New York Knicks forward Metta World Peace commented on the situation and believes Smart can really learn his lesson. World Peace also compared himself to Smart when he was his age and said he wished he would’ve listened to his elders back then.

“So those types of challenges on the court when you’re playing and fans are rooting against you — that was a great lesson learned, so that hopefully when he does become a pro, he’ll be able to kind of withstand the fans that are rooting against him on the road,” World Peace said before his game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.

“I wish I would have been more conscious at that age also. Those are two things that, if you were to reach out to a kid like Marcus — a talented kid, future leader in the community — you would tell him those things,” he added.

Smart will be back on the court for the Feb. 22 game against Texas Tech. How ironic.

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