Smart Lesson: Let It Be
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Nothing good comes of a player in any sport getting confrontational with a paying customer.
First of all, it's unsettling to all the other paying customers.
Secondly, it's a ticket to infamy.
It's happened in all sports.
Ty Cobb -- neither a shrinking violet nor a tolerant man -- went after a heckler with his cleats while his teammates held other fans back. Believe it or not, when the American League commissioner tried to fine and suspend the Georgia Peach, it caused the first player strike in baseball's history.
In 1979, the Boston Bruins' Terry O'Reilly -- a hard man if ever there was one -- led a charge into the stands at Madison Square Garden in what almost escalated into a post-game riot:
They're lucky suspensions were the only result. Criminal charges could easily have been filed. Apparently, though, hockey fans want to be seen as being just as tough as hockey players.
Then, of course, there's the wacko night when Ron Artest had yet to come out in favor of World Peace:
Now, does Marcus Smart really want to be associated with this sort of mayhem?
Smart, who plays for Oklahoma State, pushed a fan for harassing him. Many said after the incident that Smart pushed the fan for calling him a racial slur.
But according to the latest reports, no such word was heard from the fan on video. For the incident, Smart was suspended three games.
No matter how much of an idiot a fan or fans may be, players simply can not go into the stands to deal with them. As we've gathered from the incidents mentioned here, things can escalate like wildfire, and making crazy people crazier just isn't advisable.
In Smart's case, the Texas Tech fan who was harassing him, Jeff Orr, issued an apology. Reading it, there's no doubt he found a lawyer to craft the words for him:
“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. 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 isn't the first fan to act like a jerk at a sporting event; he's just the latest. He paid for his ticket and he has every right to voice his opinion, even if it's an obnoxious one.
At least he didn't poison a tree or throw something at the kid, but Smart -- like his name -- needs to show better judgment than this. If he can't take the harassment now, he won't survive in the pros. where there are thousands of fans like Orr around the league who will say and sometimes do a lot worse.
So, suck it up, Marcus. You've provided more fodder for the obnoxious crowd. Things aren't going to get any better for you.