The punishment is in, and Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart is going to watch his team play without him for three games. He was suspended for shoving a Texas tech fan in the final seconds of Saturday’s game, ESPN reports.
The three-game suspension was announced Sunday by Cowboys coach Travis Ford.
“I want to apologize to the fan, whose name is Jeff Orr. I want to apologize to him. I want to apologize to my teammates, to my coaching staff, Coach Ford, my family, Oklahoma State University,” Smart said at a press conference.
“This is not how I [conduct] myself, this is not how this program is ran. This is not how I was raised. I let my emotions get the best of me. Just can’t let that happen again. This is a lesson I’ll have to learn from. The consequences that are coming with it, I’m taking full responsibility. No finger pointing. This is all upon me.”
The incident happened after Smart tried to block Texas Tech player Jaye Crockett’s dunk attempt with 6.2 seconds to go. Smart stumbled out of bounds behind the basket. He was being helped up to return to the court when he turned and confronted a Tech fan (Orr) wearing a black Texas Tech T-shirt. Smart pushed him hard with two hands before being pulled back onto the court. The officials issued a technical foul against Smart, but he was allowed to sit on the bench for the remainder of the game.
“Mr. Smart’s actions were a clear violation of the Big 12 Conference’s Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Policy,” Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement, ESPN notes. “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.”
Cowboys coach Travis Ford said that he didn’t want Smart’s legacy to be judged on what was a bad moment.
“Undoubtedly, last night was not one of his finer moments,” Ford said. “But Marcus Smart has had many great moments as a person, as a player. And I know Marcus Smart’s heart. I know how he’s hurting. I know how regretful he is right now.
“Marcus made a big mistake last night, he knows that,” he added. “We talked about it extensively. He knows we don’t condone things of that matter. He has owned up to it … Marcus is a young man that has been in the public eye for quite a bit. And I think we’d all agree for the highest percentage of the time, he’s conducted himself as a tremendous young man. But he made a mistake that he’s going to pay for.”