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Controversy!NCAA BasketballPress Release

Marcus Smart Suspended Three Games For Pushing Fan. Fair, Or Some B.S.?

The Big 12 Conference announced today that Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart will be suspended for three games for shoving a Texas Tech fan during the Cowboys’ 65-61 basketball loss on Saturday. Too lenient? Too harsh? Depends on how one looks at it.

First, here are the requisite words from the Big 12, and from Smart:

“Mr. Smart’s actions were a clear violation of the Big 12 Conference’s Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Policy,” said Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. “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.”

Smart apologized to fans, teammates, coaches and the university at a press conference.

“This is not how I condone myself,” Smart said. I let my emotions get the best of me. It’s a lesson I have to learn from.

“No finger pointing, this is all upon me. I feel like I let my teammates down.”

Texas Tech fan Jeff Orr allegedly yelled at Smart “Go back to Africa”, or “Go back to Africa, n*****”, according to various reports, triggering the altercation. If that’s true, wonders Forbes Magazine, then why is Smart being punished at all? And if not true, why only three games?

The Big 12 doesn’t seem like it’s sure what the truth is, and doesn’t seem very interested in finding out. So it’s splitting the difference and moving on. In their defense, no one at Oklahoma State is talking officially about what Orr said. If he did hurl a racial slur, I’d sure as hell speak up. This isn’t the NBA, where a professional is expected to shake these things off. This is (allegedly) an adult (allegedly) hurling a racist comment at a kid. So what are we teaching student-athletes? That it’s OK to sweep things like this under the rug and move on?

Some things just do not lend themselves to compromise, and educators should understand this.

Oh, and did we mention that Smart will next be eligible to play again on Feb. 22, when OSU meets … Texas Tech?

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