STILLWATER — A day after losing his cool and shoving Texas Tech fan Jeff Orr in the closing seconds of a loss in Lubbock, Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart showed a completely different demeanor.
The sophomore star was calm and apologetic while giving a brief statement at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Sunday after receiving a three-game suspension from the Big 12 Conference as a result of the incident.
“I want to apologize to the fan, whose name is Jeff Orr. I want to apologize to my teammates, to my coaching staff, Coach Ford, my family, Oklahoma State University. 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.
“I just want to really apologize to those that are very important to me. I feel like I let my teammates down. These guys mean a lot to me. Not to be able to be out there with them, it hits me in my heart. I have a lot of people that look up to me, a lot of little kids, so once again, I truly apologize. This is not me. I really do apologize for it. Like I said, I take full responsibility and the consequences that come with it.”
The Cowboys’ next three games are at Texas on Tuesday, a home Bedlam game on Saturday, and a Feb. 17 game at Baylor.
Following his statement, Smart was not made available for questions. He was accompanied by OSU basketball coach Travis Ford and athletic director Mike Holder, who did answer questions.
None of the three went into specifics of what was said to incite Smart into shoving Orr. Ford said, “we’re not gonna get into that,” when asked if Marcus had shared with him what was said.
Ford said Smart would not travel with the team for Tuesday’s game, but he will be allowed to practice during the suspension. Ford said further details of the suspension, such as Smart being able to sit on the bench during the other two games he’ll miss, have not been determined.
“I love Marcus Smart for the person he is, and I know this is going to make him a better person,” Ford said. “Marcus is a young man that has been in the public eye quite a bit. And I think we can all agree for the majority of the time, the highest percentage time, he’s conducted himself as a tremendous young man, but he made a mistake.
“But I’m very confident, extremely confident, because I do know Marcus Smart, he’s going to gain everybody else’s trust who he’s lost. He’s going to try to improve himself every single day, and Marcus has my full support.”
Holder said he reached out to Big 12 officials this morning in order to get the issues resolved.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby released the following statement:
“Mr. Smart’s actions were a clear violation of the Big 12 Conference’s Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct Policy. Such behavior has no place in athletics, and will not be tolerated. I appreciate the efforts of Oklahoma State University athletic director Mike Holder in addressing this matter, and believe this is an appropriate response to an inappropriate action.”
Orr also released a statement on Sunday through Texas Tech, saying he regretted his actions and that he called Smart “a piece of crap.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere apologies to Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, Tubby Smith and the Texas Tech Men's Basketball program,” Orr said. “My actions last night were inappropriate and do not reflect myself or Texas Tech — a university I love dearly. I regret calling Mr. Smart a “piece of crap” but I want to make it known that I did not use a racial slur of any kind. Additionally, I would like to offer my apologies to Texas Tech fans that have been embarrassed by the attention this incident has created.”