Updates from Sunday, Feb. 9
Orr provided a statement to TexasTech.com after Marcus Smart was suspended three games for Saturday's incident:
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 also volunteered to not to attend a Texas Tech game for the remainder of the season.
Very quickly after Marcus Smart shoved a Texas Tech supporter in Oklahoma State's 65-61 loss on Saturday night, the attention shifted to the fan and what his culpability was in the incident.
Blayne Beal, a spokesman for the Red Raiders' athletic department, confirmed to ESPN the identity of the fan in question. His name is Jeff Orr, and he's been profiled by the school because of his love for Texas Tech basketball. Beal told ESPN that Orr travels thousands of miles each year to watch games.
In the aforementioned profile, written by Sally Logue Post in 2010, Orr is presented as more of a superfan than anything else.
According to Post:
The 1983 Texas Tech graduate drives roundtrip from Waco to Lubbock for just about every Red Raider basketball game. He also makes most away games and he’s a serious football fan as well.
That translates into 32,000 miles in 2008—22,600 driving and 9,800 flying. In 2009, the totals are 15,100 miles—13,900 in a car and 1,200 in the air. Orr has traveled to 31 states and Washington, D.C., for basketball and 20 states for football games.
Pat Knight, head coach at the time, said:
Jeff is unbelievable. He means a lot to us and we try to take care of him. He’s always there for us, win or lose. It’s great to know that when we arrive at an away game, he’ll be there to meet us. We can always count on Jeff.
Clearly Orr means a lot to Texas Tech basketball if he's being spoken about like that by the team's head coach.
It all serves to muddy the waters, as many are wondering what Orr said to Smart in order to set the player off. In addition, there's the question as to what Orr's relationship is with the university.
ESPN's Jay Bilas presented interesting questions about whether university boosters are more or less entitled to hounding opposing players:
If Marcus Smart was provoked by a university booster, or "representative of TTU's athletic interests," is that a mitigating factor?— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) February 9, 2014
Does a university booster get to say whatever he wants, and a "student athlete" is required to take it? What responsibility does TTU have?— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) February 9, 2014
Orr admitted that he got carried away in the situation but said that he didn't use racial slurs or any other vulgarity, per CBS Sports' Doug Gottlieb:
Text convo from my Tech friend w/Orr- Orr is Tech's biggest fan-everyone knows him, he goes to every game pic.twitter.com/1ZlN6gAdz3— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) February 9, 2014
"wasn't vulgar or the N Word" another text from Orr - #MarcusSmart— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) February 9, 2014
ESPN's Fran Fraschilla wants those Texas Tech fans around Orr at the time to come forward and shed some light on what actually happened:
If Super Fan dropped the "magic hate word" as Marcus Smart walked away then EVERY person who heard it needs to come forward ASAP.— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) February 9, 2014
It should also be noted that this isn't the first instance of Orr being caught on camera directly antagonizing an opposing player. During a game against Texas A&M in February 2010, he could be seen behind the basket making gestures at Aggies player Bryan Davis.
Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated is one of those arguing that if Orr did in fact use a racial slur, he shouldn't be allowed back:
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
More information about Orr's role with Texas Tech will likely be revealed in the coming days and weeks. And depending on what he said, he could have seen his last Red Raiders game at United Spirit Arena for the time being.
The profile of Orr culminates with him stating that he isn't planning on ending his love affair with the school despite the mileage he racks up and will continue attending games.
After Saturday night, though, the choice may be out of his hands.