By now, everyone has seen the video of Marcus Smart shoving Texas Tech fan, Jeff Orr. And everyone has an opinion about it. I mean, ESPN has shown the clip 12 times - and that was in the first two minutes of their first report. The actual number of times it’s been aired is vastly approaching infinity. The opening remark in this debate (of which we can be certain there are no winners) by the overwhelming majority of people (a higher number if you don’t include former hotheaded players who now have a new idol) has been that, under no circumstances does a player ever go into the stands and physically assault a fan - independent of whether that fan has the class of a backwater convenience store’s toilet seat (men’s room, seat left down all day). Admittedly, I count myself with the majority (the first group).
Then, there is Jeff Orr’s side in this discussion which is . . . Why don’t we let Citizen Orr speak for himself on this case (with translation in parentheses)?
“I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere apologies to Marcus Smart” (a tad too late), “Oklahoma State” (a face-to-face explanation to T.Boone Pickens oughta suffice), “Tubby Smith” (because he now, in every prospects’ and their parents’ home, has to first address that fat, white guy who called Camella Smart’s son “a piece of crap” - before he begins his recruiting pitch), “and the Texas Tech Men’s Basketball program” (because you singlehandedly took away the spotlight from their wonderful victory - and put it on yourself).
“My actions last night were inappropriate” (duh) “and do not reflect myself” (yes, they most certainly do - YOU said them), “or Texas Tech - a university I love dearly” (you sure have a strange way of displaying your affection). “I regret calling Mr. Smart a ‘piece of crap’ “ (why, do you wish you would have called him some other term?) “but I want to make it known that I did not use a racial slur of any kind” (oh, now we get it - “piece of crap” is OK because it’s politically correct, i.e. you’re not a racist, merely a freakin’ IMBECILE!).
“Additionally, I would like to offer my apologies to Texas Tech fans that have been embarrassed by the attention this incident has created.” (You mean like any and all mature human beings with a shred of decency in their bodies).
The first question needs to be, “Why is this guy seated where he is (was)?” No one will ever convince me that Jeff Orr’s ticket location was random. In previous game footage he’s been shown to be the harassing type of “superfan.” If he’s such a big donor, put him 8 rows up at center court - great seats in which he can cheer his beloved Red Raiders but won’t be a distraction to the players or the game. If, in fact, he doesn’t give that much, move him up 20 rows, free throw line extended, behind the home team’s bench – or, if his donation is even less, baseline extended, high enough that he can feel the game, just not be an integral part of it.
It was inevitable something like this was bound to happen, given what Orr apparently feels a true fan should be (that assessment taken from the two videos seen thus far - those and the 30 years I spent in the college game). Exactly what was said might be in doubt. However, to see Smart’s reaction (whipping his head around while he’s lying on the floor), it’s evident the message was quite offensive.
OK, glad we got to clear that up. Now, let’s move on to events that undoubtedly had a role in creating the situation:
1) Marcus Smart should have entered his name in last year’s draft. Whether he was ready or not - and the majority of those “in the know” thought, at that time, he was - he would have gone higher than he will this year (barring a sensational combine or blow-them-away individual team workouts).
2) He’s been unable to control his emotions on (at least) two occasions due, in all probability, to the team’s current losses and/or his level of play not being as good as, or, in all likelihood, better than it was last year. NBA teams play 82 games, plus exhibitions, and, they hope, a bunch more in the playoffs.
3) The concern should be on what the effect of his suspension has on Oklahoma State (they’ve already been pasted in Game 1 AM), not what effect it will have on his draft status – yet that’s the focus of today’s media-driven society.
4) Why do talking heads and reporters feel it necessary to bring up that Travis Ford should have been in the middle of the fray, that maybe he is the problem with the Cowboys or Marcus Smart’s declining play? Why do people feel a need to assess blame and find as many “villains” as possible?
Bottom line in this instance, there were no winners (Tech had more points but they couldn’t have felt too victorious) in Marcus Smart vs Jeff Orr. It’s the old line:
“When everybody loses, nobody wins.”