Thu February 13, 2014
Pitino Says Fan Behavior Has Worsened in Many Arenas
University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino says Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart was wrong to shove a Texas Tech fan who yelled an insult at him from the stands Saturday night.
Pitino says he tells his players to “turn the other cheek” and ignore any taunts they get from opposing teams’ fans.
But he understands Smart's anger.
"Fans can be very abusive today. Each year I’ve been in this business it gets worse and worse. I mean, that’s a grown man yelling at someone ‘you’re a piece of crap.’ I mean, come on, to me that’s much worse than being pushed, to me, personally, a grown man yelling that about a person he doesn’t even know," Pitino said at his weekly press conference.
Smart was suspended three games for the shove. The Texas Tech fan has apologized and offered to stay away for the rest of the season.
Pitino says U of L fan behavior has never been a problem during his twelve years coaching the Cardinals.
"I think it’s a professional atmosphere, courteous. Our fans are not worried about the other coaches’ starting lineup, they’re worried about their next Maker’s Mark," he said.
U of L’s next game, at Temple, originally scheduled for Thursday night, has been postponed until Friday night because of heavy snow in the Northeast.