Marcus Smart and the Fan who said Something

marcus-smart-shoveOne of the top non-Olympic (yawn) stories today is about a basketball player for Oklahoma State who gave a fairly mild shove to a fan at the tail end of the game between OSU and Texas Tech.

Smart fell into the stands after rushing down court to block a shot and something was said that infuriated him enough to get first into a shouting match with the fan and then shove him.

It’s a bad situation all the way around. It’s my opinion that fans are becoming increasingly crude, vile, and nasty towards not only opposing players but their own team. That they feel because they paid for their tickets they can say and do just about anything they want. I wrote about it in a blog after I had a pretty bad experience at a Rams game.

The fan who raised the ire of Smart, Jeff Orr, is apparently well-known to the Texas Tech Athletic Department. He travels to many away games and roots for the Red Raiders. I don’t know what he said. It could have been anything. Smart and the Cowboys have been struggling lately and that can lead to frustration. Smart is a 19-year-old young man, a kid from my perspective. I remember being pretty volatile at that age as well.

Maybe what was said was innocuous and Smart overreacted.

Maybe the fan made an incredibly vile comment and deserved to have his teeth knocked down his throat. I don’t know.

I do know that the situation is dangerous, particularly where the fans are very close to the athletes and basketball is probably the prime example of this. Players spill off the court into the stands fairly regularly and this is not the first such interaction of this nature. The NBA had an extremely high-profile incident a few years back and others since. The NHL has had incidents.

In college sports these are very young men and women who perhaps are not mentally mature.

What’s the solution? A little decency is all it takes. If you’re a fan and want to express your unhappiness with an opposing player or a player on your team, do it with a little control. Boo all you want. Call them a bum. Don’t talk about their race, their religion, their mother or sisters, or the fact that they have a DUI on their record. I’m not just talking of sparing the opposing player, I’m talking about showing a little respect for the fans next to you, they paid for their seats also.

If you are a fan and someone is behaving in a disgusting fashion say something. Don’t be rude like them, that is what they want. Just ask politely if they could not use disgusting language, racial slurs, religious slurs, or some human failing of the athlete involved. Remind them that you paid for your ticket also. If they continue then it’s probably time to get security involved.

Don’t we all just want to have a good time at the game? Root for our team, boo the best player on the opponent’s squad while recognizing their athletic ability, enjoy a beer without getting sloppy drunk, and then go home and have the memories?

If you’re yelling vile things during a largely meaningless sporting event, what does that say about you as a human being? As a father? As a role-model?

Again, I’m not saying Orr is guilty in all of this, it’s possible he didn’t say anything wrong. I think Smart was absolutely wrong to even acknowledge the fan, let alone shove him. I’m just suggesting that incidents like this can be avoided if people choose to show a little something called personal responsibility.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Spear of the Hunt
Next Release: The Broken Throne

Craig James fired – why?

Craig JamesThere’s an interesting news story making this rounds about a college football commentator, and former player, named Craig James who was fired from his job after a single day.

If you read the headlines, and to a large degree the story itself, without knowing other facts conveniently ignored you will come to the impression that James was fired for some fairly mild anti-homosexual remarks. That’s certainly the exciting lead that I’m seeing plastered all over the media.

It’s not true. Craig James is being fired for something entirely different.

What I find most interesting about this case is that the story, as it is being currently reported, is generating a lot of controversy within the christian community and the homosexual community. Because the focus is on the one remark that James made during a failed political campaign, that gays, “will answer to the lord for their actions,” that is what is causing the uproar. Christians defend him as do those who decry the politically correct world in which one statement haunts you for the rest of your life.

I’m actually on the side of the Christians and anti-politically correct crowd as far as the one statement goes. People are entitled to their opinion as long as it doesn’t affect their work. But, here’s the problem. James wasn’t fired for that remark. He was fired for a series of incident’s that have alienated him from the powerful college football lobby. They don’t like James, and I’m in agreement with them there, and they put down the hammer when it came to giving him both a voice and a lucrative job.

Why don’t they like him? I’m happy to elaborate but the entire story is here.

Craig James has a son named Adam James. Adam James played football at Texas Tech for a coach named Mike Leach. Leach was very successful at Texas Tech which is in the middle of the football-mad state of Texas. Leach took the Red Raiders to ten consecutive Bowl Games.

Adam James did not play much at Texas Tech and his father spent a lot of time bothering Leach about it. Leach is quoted as saying he had more trouble with Craig James than all the other parent’s combined.

Adam James was demoted to third string and then suffered a mild concussion. When James showed up at practice late the day after the concussion he was put in a trainer’s shed for the duration of the practice and the next day put alone into the media room. Adam James complained to his father. Adam James went into a small closet adjacent to the media room and took a video of himself “imprisoned” in the closet. He sent this video to his father.

Craig James went for the lawyers. He wanted an apology. Leach refused. He wouldn’t apologize when, in his mind, he had done nothing wrong.

Craig James had his public relations firm post the contrived electrical room closet video on YouTube.

Texas Tech fired Leach.

Leach sued Texas Tech but eventually lost on the grounds that basically a University can fire a coach for just about anything.

There are a lot of powerful people in Texas who do not like Craig James. They think he, and his son, are responsible for the firing of an extremely successful coach. Texas has a lot of influence in the NCAA and with the networks that cover it.

So, when you read about the supposedly politically correct move of firing James after one day on the job, keep in mind that there is a lot more to the story.

I’m not attacking James here nor defending Leach. I’m trying to make sure people understand the totality of this story. To keep people from reading the headline and coming to an uniformed opinion.

Although, honestly, I think Leach should not have been fired and James and his son are complainers at best and liars who cost a man his job at worst. That’s not cool.

Tom Liberman
Sword and Sorcery fantasy with a Libertarian Ideology
Current Release: The Sword of Water ($2.99 and all awesome!)
Upcoming Release: The Spear of the Hunt