By Matt McCoy
It's pretty obvious that Oklahoma State All-American guard Marcus Smart crossed the line Saturday night when he shoved Texas Tech booster and fan Jeff Orr in the closing seconds of the Red Raiders upset win over the Cowboys. (If you haven't seen the incident, check it out below.)
The question is, did Orr cross the line?
Smart's actions cost him. He's been suspended three games by the Big 12 conference and some are questioning whether it will affect his NBA draft stock.
The sophomore guard would have been a top 10 selection last year, had he decided to leave for the pros but stayed at Oklahoma State instead. His maturity had already become a topic when he kicked a chair in frustration just two weeks ago and Saturday night's incident will raise even more questions with NBA scouts and GM's.
What Smart did is unacceptable but what Orr did needs to be examined as well. In a statement Sunday, Orr said "My actions (Saturday) night were inappropriate and do not reflect myself or Texas Tech---a University I love dearly. 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."
According to reports, Orr is a 50-year old booster of Texas Tech basketball and is considered a 'super fan.' While there's nothing wrong with being passionate about a team or a program, is a 50-year old calling a 19-year old 'a piece of crap' appropriate?
Unfortunately, it seems many believe that it is...and unfortunately calling an opposing player 'a piece of crap' is benign compared to other comments that are uttered at college basketball games.
I'm not excusing Smart at all. A player simply cannot do what he did, no matter what was said, but I can't say I'm stunned that it happened. An emotional player at the end of an emotional game fell at the feet of a blowhard who thought he'd have some fun rubbing it in.
Smart blew it...but so did Orr.
I love the passion of college basketball fans and I enjoy creative chants or cheers that take jabs at an opponent...but there is a line. There is a time to cheer for your team while appreciating an opposing players effort. When a guy hustling down the floor on a game deciding play basically falls into your lap---that's one of them.