Big 12 suspends OSU guard Marcus Smart three games for shoving fan

Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart has been suspended for three games for shoving a Texas Tech fan in the final minute of the Cowboys’ loss in Lubbock on Saturday night.

“Mr. Smart’s actions were a clear violation of the Big 12 Conference’s Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Policy,” Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement Sunday. “Such behavior has no place in athletics, and will not be tolerated. I appreciate the efforts of Oklahoma State University athletics director Mike Holder in addressing this matter, and believe this is an appropriate response to an inappropriate action.”

THE SHOVE: Marcus Smart fan incident

Big 12 spokesman Rob Carolla said the league reviewed the incident in accordance with the conference’s sportsmanship policy.

Smart, who apologized for his actions in a news conference Sunday, will begin serving the suspension Tuesday when the Cowboys travel to face Texas in Austin. The Big 12 said Smart will be suspended from all team travel and gameday activities through the Cowboys’ Feb. 17 game against Baylor. He will be allowed to practice with the team.

“Some things are more important than winning and losing,” said Mike Holder, Oklahoma State’s athletic director. “Your respect you have, your self image, all that that takes a lifetime to build can be gone in a blink of an eye. Playing competitive athletics is a privilege. It’s not a right, it’s a privilege. And that privilege can be taken away from you.”

The next game Smart will be eligible to play will be Feb. 22 at home, Oklahoma State’s second regular-season meeting with Texas Tech.

Smart apologized to the fan Jeff Orr, his Oklahoma State teammates, his coaches, his family and the university.

“This is not how I was raised,” Smart said. “I let my emotions get the best of me, just can’t let that happen again. It’s something I have to learn from … the consequences coming with it, I’m taking full responsibility. No fingers are pointed. This is all upon me.”

“I feel like I let my teammates down. These guys mean a lot to me. Not to be able to be out there with them, it hits me in my heart. I have a lot of people that look up me, a lot of little kids. I truly apologize. This is not me.”

Meanwhile, Orr apologized to Smart, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith and the university for calling Smart a “piece of crap.” Orr called his actions “inappropriate” and voluntarily agreed not to attend any more Texas Tech men’s basketball games for the remainder of the season.

Texas Tech said video evidence from underneath the basket confirmed Orr’s phrase directed toward Smart. But it cited the video evidence and witnesses in saying that no racist comment was uttered by Orr.

“I want to make it known that I did not use a racial slur of any kind,” Orr added. “Additionally, I would like to offer my apologies to Texas Tech fans that have been embarrassed by the attention this incident has created.”

BACK STORY: Getting to know Marcus Smart

After committing a foul in the final seconds of the game, Smart’s momentum took him into the crowd behind the basket. After being helped to his feet, Smart turned to face a man wearing a black shirt who appeared to say something to Smart.

Smart then gave Orr a two-handed shove that knocked Orr back a step but did not knock him down. Smart was assessed a technical foul but was not ejected. He remained on the bench until the end of the game, when fans stormed the court following the 65-61 Texas Tech victory.

Video of the incident immediately went viral on Twitter, prompting strong and varied reaction from around the college basketball world and beyond. Long lauded for his poise and high character, Smart, 19, this season has become one of the sport’s most polarizing figures.

“He made a mistake. Let’s not crucify him for it,” Holder said of the Texas Tech incident. “What happened last night will not define Marcus. It will not define us.”

Smart’s mother Camellia and his older brother Michael could not be reached for comment.

REACTION: Both sides bear responsibility

Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford, whose voice cracked with emotion as he answered questions for some 20 minutes, called it a “serious mistake” but a learning experience for a 19-year-old.

“I know Marcus Smart. I know his family. I know what he stands for, and I know he made a mistake. But that doesn’t keep me from loving Marcus Smart, supporting him, loving him. Part of our job is to help him learn from this so it doesn’t happen again.”

In the spring, Smart made a decision that surprised many by choosing to return to school for his sophomore season even though he was projected to be an NBA lottery pick. A large part of that decision, he said, was based on his belief that he let his teammates down in fifth-seeded Oklahoma State’s first-round NCAA tournament loss to 12th-seeded Oregon in March.

He told USA TODAY Sports in October that the loss to Oregon was one of the few games in his life when he felt he was not mentally into the game. He wanted to avenge that loss, as much for his teammates as for himself.

Smart entered this season as the nation’s only unanimous Associated Press first-team All-American. He said he was motivated this season by the hype that Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins received before Wiggins had even played a college game.

Smart’s season reached a pinnacle Nov. 19, when he scored a career-high 39 points against Memphis, a performance that impressed Kevin Durant, who was in attendance. But Oklahoma State’s season changed course once forward Michael Cobbins suffered a season-ending injury in late December. Then freshman guard Stevie Clark was dismissed from the program Feb. 3.

Written by Nick

Nick

Nick the Quick White is an avid fan of basketball and hip hop, and a contributing writer with WJS since 2013. Nick has interviewed rappers, ballers, rapper ballers, and baller rappers on the site and continues to preach that the NBA should have a team in Europe. Maybe because Nick currently lives outside London where to them Football is actually played with your feet, can you believe this fatuousness?

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