Texas Tech University basketball fan Jeff Orr apologized for his comments to Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart while the player was slapped with a three-game suspension for pushing him at the end of a college basketball game Saturday.
Smart's conduct, regardless of what was said to him, was in violation of the league's sportsmanship and ethical conduct policy. Smart, who had accidently fell into the crowd behind the basket in the waning moments of Oklahoma State's game with Texas Tech in Lubbock, could be seen shoving Orr after the fan said something to him.
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Smart apologized for the shove during a news conference Sunday, according to USA Today.
The talented sophomore guard will start serving his suspension Tuesday when the team travels to Austin to take on the University of Texas.
"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," Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby wrote in a statement released Sunday.
Orr, on the other hand, called his own actions "inappropriate" and apologized to Smart for calling him a "piece of crap." Orr will voluntarily not attend any more of Texas Tech men's games this season.
"I want to make it known that I did not use a racial slur of any kind," Orr said, according to USA Today. "Additionally, I would like to offer my apologies to Texas Tech fans that have been embarrassed by the attention this incident has created."
Metta World Peace, who served a 73-game suspension in 2004 after going after a Detroit Pistons fan, told the Associated Press he learned from his incident and believes Smart
will emerge stronger mentally from the experience.
World Peace, a member of the New York Knicks, was in Oklahoma City Sunday with his team for a game against the Thunder.
"I wish I would have listened when I was a kid to my elders or people who had my best interests at heart, and then I wish I would have been more conscious at that age also," World Peace said. "Those are two things that, if you were to reach out to a kid like Marcus — a talented kid, future leader in the community — you would tell him those things."
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