Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Big 12 Update

In my previous post I discussed Oklahoma State’s star player Marcus Smart who went into the stands to shove a Texas Tech fan during a basketball game in Lubbock.  After way too much discussion among the talking heads—only Missouri’s Michael Sam has garnered more coverage recently—and probably way too much effort in the actual “investigation,” witness interviews and an audio recording revealed what triggered Smart’s outburst.

On the audio, the fan can be heard calling Smart a “piece of crap.”  Not appropriate, but then again not much worse than what I’ve called some of Marquette’s opponents—including Steve Nash of Santa Clara who visited the old Mecca for a game back in the 90s.  Similarly, today during an ACC match up between Big East defectors Syracuse and Pitt, Pitt fans were videotaped flipping-off, pointing at, and yelling at the Syracuse freshman guard who hit the near-half court shot to win the game at the buzzer.

In any case, what the Texas Tech fan said was never really relevant for purposes of doling out punishment.  (Fortunately, though, it was not a racial slur as initially alleged, thus saving us from weeks of painful ESPN commentary on that topic.) And yesterday the Big 12 suspended Smart for three games.  But of greater concern to me were the foolish conference “sportsmanship” ads running during Big 12 games.  And that seems to be fixed too.  In the Kansas–Kansas State game I saw that the Big 12 wisely abandoned its sportsmanship sales pitch in favor of an equally empty spiel about Big 12 schools working together or creating synergy or some such thing. 

I could be way off on the gist of the Big 12’s new message, but that just shows how unmemorable it is.  In any case, whatever it is, it’s better than touting the former (and now-disproved) Big 12 sportsmanship claim.

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