BY LOREN BRANCH
Towards the end of the February 8, 2014 match up between Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, star point guard Marcus Smart had a very unexpected and unfortunate altercation with Tech’s “super fan” Jeff Orr.
After committing a hard foul on Tech’s Jaye Crockett, Smart fell into the stands where Orr clearly said something that provoked him. He quickly got on his feet, stepped closer to the fan, they briefly exchanged words and Smart ended the conversation by shoving Orr.
Smart surprisingly was only given a technical foul and was allowed to sit on the bench for what little time was left in the game. Despite the severity of this incident, some of the media’s initial comments and coverage were definitely overreactions.
Immediately following the incident, SportsCenter flashed to a live look in of the game, which was introduced with this line; “apparently Marcus Smart just hit a fan.”
There was no reason to jump to the statement that Smart “hit” the fan because the video clearly showed that it was a push. This may have been caused by miscommunication, but regardless; there is no need to blow a negative incident out of proportion right after it occurs. Reports on such sensitive issues should be 100% accurate from start to finish based on what is known; assumptions and miscommunications should not come into play.
The biggest and most unnecessary overreactions were all the comparisons to Ron Artest. During the aftermath of the altercation, one of the announcers covering the game along with countless other members of the media, compared Smart’s actions to those of Ron Artest during the Pacers-Pistons brawl.
The ONLY reason these two incidents can be compared is because they involved a men’s basketball player in the stands getting involved with fans in a negative way. Marcus Smart did not hop up three rows and start a riot. He shoved one guy who allegedly called him a racial slur; there is a huge difference between these players and these events.
At the end of the day, I’ve noticed that the media always seems to overreact in these types of situations because they have to report and react so quickly. However, I feel like the saying “think before you act” comes into play here. Reports should be accurate based on knowledge and unnecessary comparisons that blow things out of proportion should not be made, period.