Following his three-game suspension for shoving a fan, Marcus Smart took his punishment like a man.

Smart, a 19-year-old sophomore at Oklahoma State, pushed Texas Tech fan Jeff Orr, who looks to be in his 50s, late in OSU’s loss to Tech. Regardless of the disappointment lately by Smart and the Oklahoma State basketball team, it was up to Smart to walk away. Even, after Orr allegedly called Smart, a “piece of crap.”  

Orr apologized to Smart and volunteered to not attend any more Texas Tech men’s basketball games this season. Smart also apologized for their actions.

But the question is what can we, as parents, learn from this incident?

Joy Crabtree, a licensed psychologist at Cook Children’s Urgent Care and Pediatric Specialties in Southlake, knows a thing or two about how fans treat athletes. Her husband, Tim, pitched for the Texas Rangers. Fans pay their money and have the right to boo or cheer. But they need to think about the people around them too, especially the little folks in ear shot.

“I think at sporting events, fans need to respect the players and players need to respect the fans,” Crabtree said. “This point is even more important when we are talking about kids who are the players. Obviously, adults need to set the tone and demonstrate a good example of sportsmanship and leadership. Kids are not only more sensitive to criticism, but typically more reactive as well. It’s not fair to children to put them in that position.

“As a parent, I certainly don’t want my own children to be in a negative environment either and witness poor sportsmanship.  Adults have to take the lead in setting a positive tone and not let competition override common sense.”

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