UPDATE, 6:35 p.m.
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart has been suspended three games by the Big 12 for shoving a fan in the closing seconds of the Cowboys’ loss at Texas Tech on Saturday night.
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford announced the suspension as he spoke in support of the All-American guard Sunday. Smart apologized for his actions prior to Ford speaking at the news conference on the Oklahoma State campus.
Smart will miss games against Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor.
Original story below
Oklahoma State University says it will hold a news conference Sunday at 6 p.m. ET in Stillwater with basketball team member Marcus Smart, coach Travis Ford and athletic director Mike Holder regarding an altercation with a Texas Tech fan the night before.
Late in Saturday night’s game at Lubbock, Texas, OSU was losing to Texas Tech 63-61 with six seconds left when Smart attempted to block a dunk and fell out of bounds. That’s when Tech fan Jeff Orr appeared to say something to the All-American guard, who then shoved Orr with two hands. Teammates quickly pulled Smart away as he pointed back in Orr’s direction.
Smart told Oklahoma State coaches that Orr called him a racial slur, a member of the basketball program confirmed to ESPN. Smart was “down and remorseful” after the game, the team official told the network, indicating the sophomore guard “got caught up in the moment.”
But Orr reportedly denied he called Smart a racial slur. The denial came in a text message conversation with a friend of Doug Gottlieb, a CBS basketball analyst, in which Orr does acknowledge saying something he shouldn’t have:
In a follow-up Tweet:
Smart was issued a technical foul and did not play the final seconds of the game. No decision has been announced on whether Smart will be punished.
Texas Tech said earlier Sunday it is investigating the incident, trying to speak with people who were in the area of the altercation.
Orr, an air traffic controller in Waco, Texas, is a kind of super-fan who travels thousands of miles to attend Tech basketball games, athletic department spokesman Blayne Beal told ESPN.
And player agitation doesn’t appear to be an atypical practice for Orr. A Twitter user posted a photo of what Orr apparently did during a game against Texas A&M, noted Footbasket:
Video of the above incident can be seen at the end of the below clip, as Orr appears to wag his tongue at the A&M player while also giving him the obscene arm gesture:
NBA player Metta World Peace — known for fighting with fans during the infamous “Malice at the Palace” incident in 2004 — gave some advice to Smart on Twitter, noting that ”all mistakes and missteps are a foundation for improvement. Sometimes the game is so intense, we forget it’s just a game.”
But former NBA forward Desmond Mason says there’s no excuse for Smart’s actions, Footbasket noted:
This story has been updated.