By now, you've probably read about or seen video of the incident in which Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart shoved a Texas Tech fan on the baseline in the waning moments of the Cowboys' 65-61 loss to the Red Raiders in Lubbock, Texas.
For those who haven't seen the shove, ESPN posted a video on YouTube.
Smart has been in the spotlight for much of the season, and not in a good way. He has earned a reputation as a serial flopper, and just recently, he kicked a chair on the bench in frustration during the Cowboys' 81-75 win over West Virginia on Jan. 25.
Up to this point, though, he hasn't done anything of this magnitude. Making contact with a fan like that crosses the line, and as a result, Smart could be looking at a lengthy suspension. According to ESPN.com, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby will take a deeper look at the incident on Sunday.
As you'd expect with an event so polarizing, social media has been abuzz throughout Saturday night and into early Sunday morning.
While much of the reaction is focusing on Smart, it's important to look at both sides of the spectrum and focus a little bit on the person he shoved. John Helsley of The Oklahoman identified the Red Raiders fan as Jeff Orr, who was profiled on Texas Tech's YouTube channel.
Smart told his coaches that Orr said "THE word," which was what set him off, per Ryan Aber of The Oklahoman:
Sure this has been said but OSU radio said immediately after the incident that Smart told the OSU coaches that the fan said THE word— Ryan Aber (@ryaber) February 9, 2014
Sports on Earth's Will Leitch was more surprised that the situation didn't escalate:
It's unbelievable what Marcus Smart did. I can't believe he didn't punch that guy. Amazing restraint.— Will Leitch (@williamfleitch) February 9, 2014
Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis said that if what Orr said was racist in nature, he should have his ticket privileges revoked:
If this fan (Jeff Orr) said something racist to Smart he should never be allowed into the arena again. Let's wait til facts come out.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) February 9, 2014
Orr admitted that he may have let his actions get away from him, but he didn't say the "N word" or another vulgarity, per CBS Sports' Doug Gottlieb:
"wasn't vulgar or the N Word" another text from Orr - #MarcusSmart— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) February 9, 2014
CBSSports.com's Royce Young also thought the fan beside Orr deserved some ire from the sporting public:
Somehow, the least likable person in the Marcus Smart shove is the pointing lady.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) February 9, 2014
Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com hopes that some sort of fan standards will be implemented down the line to prevent incidents like this:
Hope this Marcus Smart incident is an opportunity for us to create stronger standards for fan behavior.— Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) February 9, 2014
Of course, there is other blame that will be meted out to other Cowboys figures, namely head coach Travis Ford. Both Gottlieb and ESPN's Dari Nowkhah thought that Ford and his staff should have handled Smart better and created a different atmosphere around the team:
This is what an implosion looks like, poor leadership by Travis Ford... Can't keep Marcus on the bench.. Bad decision— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) February 9, 2014
I have to think some of this falls on Travis Ford and the Pokes coaching staff. Mental toughness and maturity are key - esp for a star.— Dari Nowkhah (@ESPNDari) February 9, 2014
After the game, Smart avoiding discussing the topic in any sort of depth, per SportsCenter:
"I'm still trying to figure it out." - Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford on Marcus Smart. Ford says Smart was NOT ejected from game.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 9, 2014
There's also the narrative about how Smart decided to come back to Stillwater for another season, and it's been bad PR after bad PR. As USA Today's Dan Wolken said, few will probably be praising Smart at the end of the year for forgoing the NBA:
I'm guessing we won't see too many "Marcus Smart made a great decision to come back" columns in March.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) February 9, 2014
Ironically, Smart had spoken with ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman and reiterated that he was happy to have stayed at Oklahoma State for his sophomore season:
Marcus Smart told me after Tuesday's loss he doesn't regret passing up NBA to return to Oklahoma State. Wonder if that's still the case.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) February 9, 2014
Fox Sports 1's Mike Hill is still of the opinion that Smart will be a lottery pick because teams will look at his undeniable talent:
All this said..Marcus Smart will STILL be a lottery pick…(more than likely top 5) pick in this year's draft cuz he can PLAY— Mike Hill (@ItsMikeHill) February 9, 2014
This is only the beginning of the story. When all of the details come out, it's likely nobody will come out looking good.