College Basketball by the Tweets: The Marcus Smart Shove EditionPosted by Nick Fasulo on February 10th, 2014
Nick Fasulo is an RTC correspondent who writes the column College Basketball By the Tweets, a look at the world of college hoops through the prism of everyone’s favorite social media platform. You can find him on Twitter @nickfasuloSBN.
College basketball had its Richard Sherman moment Saturday night in Lubbock, Texas, as Oklahoma State superstar Marcus Smart shoved a notable Texas Tech fan named Jeff Orr to spark a flurry of discussion via Twitter. Even if you weren’t watching the Cowboys suffer their fourth consecutive loss, one quick check of your news feed would have immediately brought the story to your attention, along with varying opinions and perspective surrounding the incident. We now know that Smart has been suspended for three games. Below is how the story evolved from the initial reaction up through Sunday’s announcement of Smart’s suspension.
The Initial Reaction
It all started — for me at least — with a Vine of the Smart shove posted by CBSSports.com‘s Matt Norlander:
Within minutes, everyone had responded to the shove. Some people immediately knew a developing story was afoot. The very first with the trigger was Pat Forde:
The subsequent knee-jerk tweets are fascinating to look back on. Certainly nobody is in the wrong, but based on what we learned, these now feel like nascent observations.
Much like the traditional news cycle except in a significantly more compact time frame, the initial reaction to reports that Smart shoved a Red Raiders fan (something indisputable) bled into commentary. It took about five minutes for Twitter to move from being reactive to proactive.
Once the replay was shown a dozen times and we had gotten our feet wet with it and felt comfortable taking a stance, the sports takes came pouring in. Below are what felt like the six prevailing narratives or angles that were being hammered by everyone actively engaged in the conversation..
But the best take of all came from someone with absolutely zero ties to sports media…
The Petty Side Feud
Every hot button issue that moves through Twitter creates side conversations. These vary from criticism for not following the unwritten rules of engagement on how to correctly comment on these issues to picking apart the syntax of a thought published on a platform that limits you to 140 characters. This back and forth was particularly noteworthy because even though it solved absolutely nothing, it was all available for public consumption and shows that it’s natural to get defensive. Sadly, these are common byproducts of major news stories nowadays.
The Other Players Who Can Relate
Former Big 12 college hoops players were quick to jump in, and their takes were very helpful both to get their perspective having walked in Smart’s shoes but also to give some anecdotal insight. It really wasn’t until this point that we were able to know who Jeff Orr was and what he was about as a long-standing Texas Tech “superfan.”
The Inside Scoop from Doug Gottleib
CBS Sports personality and former Cowboy Doug Gottlieb added some great information to the ongoing conversation by fueling speculation as to exactly what Jeff Orr said to Smart, as well as giving some perspective that this was, indeed, boiling into a major story.
From there, further speculation as to what was said ensued, some loose “reports” surfaced, and there was another wave of social media frenzy into Sunday morning as to exactly what Orr said to Smart. This is the point when Deadspin picked up the timeline.
Now — post-press conference and post-Texas Tech statement — it appears that what Orr said to Smart may have been far less vulgar and shove-worthy than originally thought, opening up an entire second social media cycle of this story.