My Reverse Narcissism, Part Two – Marcus Smart
I have some weird form of reverse narcissism when it comes to writing. I mean, not always, but lately I absolutely do. It’s like I can’t seem to write about the things I actually want to write about. Things I actually like writing about. I see things in sports media and I say, “Nope. Not touching THAT one. I am NOT writing about that.” Then I listen to ESPN or CBS Sports talk radio on the way to work (as I do every single day without fail) and Jim Rome or some other clown says something that just annoys me to no end and I just yell out loud at them in the car knowing full well that they can’t hear me.
So I put it off. I rage in my car. I get home, internalize my thoughts, swallow them, and try and find something I LIKE to write about, until a few days after everyone has hyper-analyzed everything so much it almost seems like it’s too late to talk about it.
That’s what’s happened this past week with Marcus Smart, Michael Sam, and Lebron James just being so classic Lebron its frustratingly hilarious. I REALLY didn’t want to write about any of this stuff, but I just hear idiots say the dumbest things and I just grip my steering wheel a little bit tighter. So here we go. The “Least-Famous Member of the Royal Family” coming at you with the second of three topics I hope you’re not already tired of hearing about (God knows, I am).
The Marcus Smart Shove
1. First things first. Marcus Smart did handle that situation wrong.
I don’t care what that guy in the stands said to him, Marcus Smart was out of line. I’m dead serious. Call me a punk, say it’s not “manly” to let someone yell offensive stuff at you, shout about how every guy has a right to defend his “honor,” blah blah blah. You want to be a real man, Marcus? Look at that guy so he knows you heard him, smile and laugh at him, and then hustle back on D. You know why? Because you are playing in the *bleeping* game, Marcus. YOU are the star. YOU get to walk out on that hardwood because you are 18 times more talented than any jealous dickhead who has to pay thousands of dollars for those seats to call you a racial slur or a “piece of crap” or whatever he said. That’s why next year some GM is going to pay you millions of dollars while that fat guy in the stands that no one outside of that joke of a basketball program at Texas Tech cares about will fade into complete nothingness. But you didn’t keep yourself in check, you lost the big picture and you gave some guy no one should ever care about a spotlight and gave him the stage to look like the good guy. Walk away, lose with some pride, and rip your team for underachieving like it has all year. But no, you shoved him. Now I have to listen to Tim Legler, Andy Katz, and Jay Bilas over-analyze your “character issues” all off-season before the draft.
If you’re Marcus Smart, did you really think you would make it through your career without encountering a drunk, without encountering a racist, or even just some guy who hates you because you put on a different uniform? Look, I just can’t stand this whole “What did you expect? Marcus Smart is just a ‘kid’” thing. Yes, he is a young man. But he’s not a kid anymore. Last I checked you’re an adult when you turn 18.
2. Now having said all that… to college basketball fans everywhere, where’s the line?
I freakin love booing athletes. It is one of the absolute greatest parts of actually going to a game versus watching a game on TV. You don’t feel weird cheering for your team from your couch, but nobody likes that guy who yells obscenities at opposing athletes on TV. You just look stupid.
THEY CAN’T HEAR YOU RAMSEY! … Love that commercial because everyone knows a Ramsey
You feel like the athletes can hear you, especially during warm ups. Even if you paid $20 for a bleacher seat at Yankee Stadium, you’re saying to your buddy, “Bro, Matt Joyce DEFINITELY just heard me tell him he sucks!”
I digress… I love booing. I love cheering. But somewhere between screaming at outfielders to let them know that their parents wake up sad everyday with the knowledge that they ever birthed such a disappointing child and shouting in a player’s face that he’s a dirty [fill in your favorite racial epithet here], there is a line to be drawn. I think it’s fair to say that fat Texas Tech fan crossed it. At a certain point, we as fans have to say, “These guys are literally young adults, not yet full grown men.” How else do you describe someone less than a year removed from high school?
And for the record, did anyone actually buy that the TTU fan just “called Marcus Smart ‘a piece of crap’”? First of all, who says “Hey! You! You’re a piece of crap!” If you believe that you’re the most gullible and naïve guy I know. Look, I’m not saying the guy called him the n-word, but I’m just saying I’m not stupid enough to believe he said, “HEY MARCUS! You’re a piece of crap!” Why? Because literally no one says that. You get cut off on the road by some doucher in a pickup truck with a lift kit, “Hey you! YOU, you you piece of crap!” Yea, take that!
Please. Reminds me of Burgundy.
“HEY! FAT FACE! YOU!”
Grow up fan. Show some class. As disappointed as I am in Marcus Smart, I am SO much more disappointed in that stupid, fat, loser of a fan. Any middle-aged white dude who gets his jollies off putting down any 19 year-old black kid because he plays a sport against a team he roots for is such a remarkable level of loser it needs no further explanation.
There used to be a certain level of understanding in sports that fans that sat closest to the action had a responsibility to keep themselves in check. You’re closer to the game, you paid to be closer to the game, hold yourselves to a higher standard.
3. Reminding ourselves of the Steve Kerr story. http://articles.latimes.com/1988-03-01/sports/sp-257_1_arizona-state
In 1988 when Steve Kerr was a star at Arizona, his father who was a U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon was killed while serving this country. During warm-ups before an Arizona-Arizona State matchup, some Arizona State fans started chanting awful things about Kerr’s recently deceased father (which are so despicable, if you want to read what they actually were, you can click on the article above). Kerr lost it. He had to sit down on the bench, collect himself, and hold back tears as his teammates tried to console him. Now, Kerr proceeded to make it rain during the game and Arizona wound up crushing Arizona State, but that’s beside the point. At some point, we have to define what is acceptable conduct for fans, and what is so unacceptable that fans need to be removed from a sporting event. Buying a ticket doesn’t give you the right to lose all sense of rational humanity. The line is clear for players, but seemingly nonexistent at times for fans. And that my friends, is extremely unfair.
I love sports. I would say my life priority list, in terms of things I care about, looks something like this:
- Closest Friends
- N.Y. Sports
- My dog
- Other friends
- My job
- My House
- What’s happening in politics these days
- Random people
I wish I could say that I have always done a good job of keeping sports in perspective. I wish I could say that I’ve never had one too many beers and shouted expletives at a ref after a bad call. I wish I could say I’ve never sent, retweeted, or favorited a tweet that crossed the line, insulting a professional athlete or team I didn’t like.
But it is moments like these that remind me that in the end sports are just sports. College basketball is literally 10 guys in their late teens/early 20’s trying to put a ball in a hole. The pursuit of that goal should in no way give a fan like me license to scream obscenities at a young man like Marcus Smart. It should never lead to the Malice at the Palace. And it certainly should never lead to the Steve Kerr story.
Getting off my high horse, I think in the end, everyone has to draw their own line. What’s too far for me you may not see as being over the line – and that’s fine. But keep in mind that sports exist to bring us enjoyment, to enhance our lives, to help us forget about our 60-hour work weeks. Hopefully that helps keep the games in perspective, and maybe that fat loser doesn’t yell something at an impressionable young man with a troubled background, and maybe that young man doesn’t set the wrong example by resorting to violence.