Guest column: Fans need to get a grip

By Jana LeBlanc
February 11, 2014

Many in the media feel that the three-game suspension that Oklahoma State All-American guard Marcus Smart received from the Big 12 for his shoving of Texas Tech "super fan" Jeff Orr in the Cowboys’ loss Saturday to the Red Raiders was inadequate.

I believe that the wrist slap that Smart received from the conference was appropriate and possibly even an acknowledgement that sports fans are more out of control now than ever.

On any given Sunday in the fall, years past, the tradition of families attending NFL games was passed on through each generation — until this one. While many might suspect that the decrease in family attendance for NFL games was due to the insufferably high price of game tickets, the reason I hear over and over again on talk radio is that parents are afraid of unruly fans. Fueled by beer and the testosterone-filled atmosphere, obnoxious fans spew obscenities toward the opposing teams players, get into fights, hurl objects and wander unsteadily amongst the crowds. This is not the sort of atmosphere a parent wants to bring their child into. 

Orr, an air-traffic controller from Waco, Texas, was profiled as Texas Tech's No. 1 fan in a university publication in 2010. He has admitted that he has no hobbies other than Texas Tech athletics. He has been known in the past to taunt opposing players voraciously. Utah Jazz guard John Lucas III, a member of Oklahoma State's 2004 Final Four team, remembers Orr's crazy rantings to this day. Orr is a fan out of control.

Orr claims that he called Smart a "piece of crap" after he missed a block of Jay Crockett's dunk with the Red Raiders leading 63-61. Smart claims to have heard a racial slur. Would being called a "piece of crap" incense anyone? I am more apt to believe Smart in this case.

Apologies have now been made all around. Orr has been contrite and has volunteered to avoid attending Red Raider games for the remainder of the season. Texas Tech is launching an investigation of his actions. I would have preferred to see the man banned outright from attending games, but that action has yet to be decided by the school. Hopefully this incident will serve as a wake-up call for other "super fans" that they do not get carte blanche for their actions in stadiums and arenas.

While I do not fault Smart for his actions, his show of temper as of late does not help his draft stock. Currently a lock for the NBA first round, the thought that Smart could possibly be the No. 1 pick overall may no longer have much merit. We will have to see once he returns to the court if he can step up his game and get past this incident.