Athletes are People Too

By Kevin Shung

A varsity athlete, especially in football and basketball, is often bombarded by invectives from the fans of the home team during away games. These fans shout obscenities, making racist remarks, or carry out chants with the purpose of harassing and enraging student athletes.

These fans are often crossing the line and in some cases fans have triggered reactions from athletes. This was the case with Marcus Smart shoving a heckling Texas Tech fan, Jeff Orr.

The altercation occurred with 6.2 seconds left in the game after Smart fell into the stands after committing a foul. Smart confronted and exchanged words with Orr before shoving Orr and immediately walking away. Smart received a technical foul from referees and was suspended for three games by the Big 12.

Smart was wrong to approach and shove Orr, but how can we blame a 19-year-old teenager for attempting to stand up for his dignity?

Jeff Orr is known for his poor behavior at Texas Tech games. Daniel Garrett, a former player of Texas A&M University, tweeted about an incident where Orr was making an obscene gesture at former player Bryan Davis. “Lmao. That Tech fan is the game guy who flipped of @B_Davis0 when we played them.”

Niles Ellis, a senior basketball player at Brooklyn Technical High School, has certainly heard his share of taunts from opposing fans.

“We sometimes forget that these [players] are human beings, the jersey doesn’t make them super human. He [Orr] should get some type of small reprimand for the action, but, it was a reaction to an action that was way more egregious,” said Ellis. “This entire Marcus Smart situation shows how people’s language and what fans say and do needs to be controlled. This young man is being ostracized for shoving a man who called him the N-word. Should he be suspended? No.”

Fans should be held responsible for their actions. Orr not only should have been ejected from the arena but he also should have a lifetime ban from Texas Tech’s New Spirit arena. Fans are a part of the game and their actions should be regulated, just as there are rules for an athlete’s behavior during a game. There should be ushers in college arenas and stadiums to make sure fans are acting appropriately. Fans who behave poorly such as Jeff Orr should be thrown out of a game immediately.

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