Marcus Smart is the Big Twelve name crossing many tongues in the sports world at the moment. The 19-year-old point guard plays basketball for the Oklahoma State University Cowboys.
Smart has exhibited a professional skill level since entering Oklahoma State University in 2012. Sports Illustrated reported Marcus Smart as an NBA prospect watch during his freshman year. The promising athlete left many astonished with his decision to return to Oklahoma State University for his sophomore year. Which prompts the question, what made the young NBA hopeful snap and release physical aggression against fan Jeff Orr?
Several video clips have emerged attempting to depict exactly what set off Marcus Smart. With seconds dwindling down, Oklahoma State University trailed Texas Tech 63-61. Jaye Crockett of Texas Tech moved in for a dunk with 6.2 seconds remaining in the game. Smart attempted to block this dunk, whereby his momentum thrust him into a cluster of fans. In that cluster of fans was an older gentleman, reported by New York Daily News as being Jeff Orr, a so-called “superfan” of the team. Orr fired off taunting remarks at Smart, causing him to retaliate by shoving Orr. Several teammates rushed in to sever further physical and verbal harm. The teammates pulled Smart away as he was still pointing and yelling at Orr. Smart was then hit with a technical foul but not ejected from the game.
Texas Tech went on to defeat Oklahoma State with a final score of 65-61, adding more salt to Smart’s mental injuries. Immense pressure is in abundance for college athletes, especially those groomed for the pros. Amongst these many pressures are the constant taunts of fans.
Initially sources reported that Orr yelled at Smart, calling him “a piece of crap.” Orr is now speaking out and defending himself against allegations that he used racial slurs as well. Orr has released the following statement: “I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere apologies to Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, Tubby Smith and the Texas Tech Men’s Basketball program. My actions last night were inappropriate and do not reflect myself or Texas Tech — a university I love dearly.” The fan further told CBS Sports,“I regret calling Mr. Smart a ‘piece of crap’ but I want to make it known that I did not use a racial slur of any kind. Additionally, I would like to offer my apologies to Texas Tech fans that have been embarrassed by the attention this incident has created.”
Orr is not alone in releasing apology statements. Smart has taken responsibility for his actions, releasing his own apology. “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. 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.”
Smart has not addressed at this time as to whether he feels a racial slur was expressed by Jeff Orr. Spectators, players and die hard fans continue the debate as to what, if any, circumstance would ever justify retaliation.
By Ebony Waller