The Marcus Smart Outrage: Taking Up for the Player

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Sometimes, fans are losers too.
"There is such a thing as manners. A way of treating people. These fish have manners! They have manners." -- Jerry Maguire

It's times like Saturday when Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart probably wishes he had just cashed in his chips and been a top five pick in last year's NBA Draft.

In case you missed it (good luck), in the waning moments of Texas Tech's 65-61 upset of Oklahoma State in Lubbock on Saturday night, Smart fell down near the bottom of the baseline stands in United Spirit Arena after a hard foul on a Texas Tech player.

What happened next dominated Twitter, television, and casual conversation for the next 12 hours (which is about the normal shelf life for outrage in today's microwave popcorn society):

ESPN color analyst Tim Welch's disgust at the end of the clip was a de facto opening salvo for the flood of sanctimony that then rained down upon Marcus Smart. He should be suspended...how is he not removed from the arena....did we learn nothing from Ron Artest?

Marcus Smart was suspended for three games (three highly crucial games for the Cowboys, considering their season is spiralng out of control right now) for this shove, and for the sake of maintaining a future bar to where a player putting his hands on a fan remains strict taboo, I understand his being suspended.

But in life, there are words, and there are "fighting words," and in the unhinged heat of a game (especially one that a player is about to lose), when a player is hit with "fighting words," our personal bar of expectations for that player's self-restraint should be adjusted accordingly. And yes, by "fighting words," I mean things of a deeply personal or even racial nature.

At this point, if you don't agree there are such things as "fighting words," then you'll agree with nothing I say from here on out. If you do agree there are "fighting words," understand the following about the fan in question, a Waco man by the name of Jeff Orr:

1. Orr is considered a renowned Tech super fan, to the extent that he travels from Waco to Lubbock (oftentimes by car) for most of the Tech home games and many away games as well. The school's website even did a feature on him a few years ago. In the feature, Orr said of his infatuation with Tech sports: "This is my hobby. I don't hunt, fish, golf or any other normal guy activities. I just sort of follow the team around."

(Side Bar: As "super fans" go, I can't think of any who have experienced a more disproportionate amount of success versus miles traveled than a Texas Tech super fan living in Waco the last couple decades.)



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11 comments
Jerry West
Jerry West

Very true, bless you for finally saying the real truth.

Puller58
Puller58

Sean, since you're a wrestling fan, you'll appreciate this.  Years ago my father and I attended a taping of Houston Wrestling.  During one match a wrestler was tossed out of the ring and a "fan" tried to tangle with him.  HPD officer at ringside grabbed the fan and bum rushed him out of the arena.  Orr just needs to be banned from events, and the rest will take heed and refrain from acting up.

Kento Shields
Kento Shields

Yeah, taking crap off fans is what those massive paychecks are for. Oh wait...

Jerry West
Jerry West

True, he won't do it anytime soon

Jerry West
Jerry West

He doesn't need to fan court side if he has to

c5813
c5813

Thanks Sean! I know a lot of people who defend the premise that the ticket buys you the right to say anything. There has to be a line; maybe call it "the arena line." And wherever that line is, that fan who angered Vernon Maxwell surely crossed it by heckling his stillborn/miscarried baby.

Ryan Bradley Heine
Ryan Bradley Heine

Sean, so should we allow every UNC player to shove any Cameron crazy that says "mean" things to them? C'mon. He lost his temper, he apologized. (Notably, Smart has yet to claim anything racial was ever said and has had plenty of opportunity to set the record straight.)

Cornelieus Napolitano
Cornelieus Napolitano

Taunting the opposing team has been around since the invention of sports and it will be around until the end. Marcus needs to unbunch his panties as does HP.

Anthony Woods
Anthony Woods

He doesn't need to be an athlete, if he can't take the trash talking that goes along with it.

coaster
coaster

I would bet $1,000 that screenshot of teh "text" is fake.  if not, that dude needs to turn off his bluethooth, get a better signal and charge his phone.

pbear8000
pbear8000

Sean, piece of crap isn't fighting words.  Yeah the guy is a loser, but your whole premise falls apart without "fighting words."  Racial epithets, talking about mommas.  Those are fighting words.  Don't you remember to primary lesson from Road House?  Be nice.  If he calls you a co**su**er, you be nice.

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