On Saturday the news broke about a story where Marcus Smart from Oklahoma State shoved a fan after an exchange of words in the stands. At first it sounded like the case of a kid who let his emotions got the best of him and didn’t think about his actions. But as this story has progressed there have been some things that just don’t make any sense. Start with the fact, the fan “claims” to have called Smart a “piece of crap”, and said he would not attend another Texas Tech game this season. If that is all he said, why would he just quit going to games? There have been reports it was a racial slur, and nobody will ever really know what was said but Smart and the fan. My question here is should fans be held more accountable for their actions?
Sure…going to sporting events is a way to get away from the real world and “let loose” for a few hours. But when it comes to college sports, should fans who are considerably older than the athletes be hurling insults and sometimes questionable phrases at young men who are anywhere from 18-24? I don’t think some things yelled at professional sporting events are ok, but at least in that arena, you’re dealing with a grown man who is getting paid handsomely for what he does. It seems the schools who allow the fans into the game, should do more to keep this kind of thing from happening. This time it was a simple, albeit violent shove, but what happens if it escalates to a punch being thrown?
We have seen this stuff happen before at the professional level, and if it happens in the college game, then there is a lot more danger to the athlete and fans surrounding the incident. It is time for fans to make sure this kind of behavior isn’t tolerated anymore; there are ways to report unruly behavior without being known. Schools should implement this and make it widely known this type of behavior will not be tolerated from the fans. Will it stop it? No, but if you can find one or two people each time, over time they will be weeded out and it will happen less often.
Fans should be held accountable for what they do or say in the walls of a venue, and if they can’t behave themselves, then they shouldn’t be allowed to be there. Not just for the athlete’s safety, but theirs and everybody around them as well. It would only be a matter of time before a player comes into the stands and starts a brawl where people end up injured.