Sounds like an open and shut case, no? No, because it turns out what the man said is what set Smart off.
First, let's go to the videotape and see what happened.
Now it is clear that the fan said something to Smart, but it is not clear what he said from the video.
The Tulsa World's Kelly Hines reported that the Oklahoma State radio analyst said that he overheard Smart telling his coaches that the fan in question called him the n-word. CBS Sports' Doug Gottlieb said on Twitter that the fan texted a friend of his at Texas Tech, saying "I kinda let my mouth say something I shouldn't have, I feel bad." Gottlieb tweeted a picture of the interaction, but he also said that the fan texted that it "wasn't vulgar or the N Word."
This fan is named Jeff Orr and he is the self-described #1 fan of Texas Tech basketball. He also has made his fair share of obscene gestures before, namely giving former Texas A&M former Bryan Davis this gesture. And former Oklahoma State guard John Lucas III said that Orr was "talking crazy" back when he was playing at Lubbock. Plus, another former Oklahoma State player, Desmond Mason, said he was called the n-word every time he played at Texas Tech, although he did not say it was the same guy, or anybody in particular for that matter.
It is easy for me to sit on my perch and scold Smart for pushing this fan, regardless of what he said, because a player should never put his hands on a fan like that. It is easy for me to say that without knowing what Orr said because if he did say a racial slur, he deserves no defense and should never be allowed to enter a Texas Tech game again. But Smart is also a guy that has struggled to control his emotions this year, and coach Travis Ford needs to get a hold of him or he will have another outburst, justified or not. Smart does deserve a suspension for this, but I think anything more than five games max would be ridiculous.