Texas Tech Student Behavior Causes Controversy

LUBBOCK, TX - FEBRUARY 07: The Texas Tech Red Raiders fans cheer during player introductions before the game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Iowa State Cyclones on February 7, 2018 at United Supermarket Arena in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech defeated Iowa State 76-58. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
LUBBOCK, TX - FEBRUARY 07: The Texas Tech Red Raiders fans cheer during player introductions before the game between the Texas Tech Red Raiders and the Iowa State Cyclones on February 7, 2018 at United Supermarket Arena in Lubbock, Texas. Texas Tech defeated Iowa State 76-58. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /

After Texas Tech students were recorded chanting obscenities at an opposing player during Tuesday’s game versus Oklahoma, a national college basketball analyst spoke out harshly against the university, sparking a controversy.

The Texas Tech student section has become infamous in the eyes of some observers because of actions that many deem to be over-the-top.  Whether it be brawls with Texas A&M fans in 2001, the breaking of bleachers in Jones Stadium or rushing the basketball court, over the past two decades, the Red Raider students have frequently found themselves in the crosshairs of critics.

The latest to criticize the Red Raider students and the university administration is ESPN college basketball analyst Seth Greenberg who took offense to the chant of “F$@* You Trae Young” that emanated from the student section during Tuesday night’s Texas Tech basketball game versus Oklahoma.

Greenberg took to the radio to voice his disapproval. However, many Texas Tech fans feel that Greenberg went too far with his comments.

"“At the end of that game, the Texas Tech fans were basically cursing, in unison, at Trae Young. And that is absolutely unacceptable.”  Greenberg said.  “That’s the same fan base that had an incident with [former Oklahoma State point guard] Marcus Smart and used a racial epithet. What happened last night is sickening. And someone from that administration needed to walk to that scorer’s table, grab that microphone, and say, ‘You know what, this is not who we are. This is unacceptable.’“You can give me all the freedom of speech [talk]. That young kid, any young person, doesn’t deserve that. It’s bad for college athletics. It’s a bad look for Texas Tech. And as much as I love Texas Tech – and I’m a huge Chris Beard fan – to me, the administration not doing anything to basically put that to rest and come on and condemn those people that were doing those things, unacceptable. I will be really disappointed if the university doesn’t come out with a statement. I’ll be really disappointed if the league doesn’t come out and do something about that, because it was unacceptable.”"

Where most Red Raiders feel Greenberg overstepped is in his reference to the Marcus Smart incident.  In February of 2014, Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart shoved a Texas Tech fan after Smart fell into the seating area behind the basket at the end of a play.  Smart alleged that the fan used a racial slur towards him however that claim was investigated and was never confirmed.

Thus, it was irresponsible for Greenberg to use that incident as a reference point to strengthen his criticisms of Texas Tech.  Also, his use of the word “sickening” to describe the incident is extreme hyperbole and was an irresponsible choice of words.

Sickening is what happened on Wednesday in Parkland Florida when 17 students and teachers were killed in a shooting at a high school.  Hearing a group of students chant an profane word that can be heard in almost every walk of society is disappointing but far from sickening. 

On Thursday, Greenberg did issue an apology for referencing the Smart incident though his social media exchanges with Texas Tech fans show that he is still adamant in his criticisms of Texas Tech.

However, a random and half-hearted Twitter apology is far less impactful than a prolonged rant broadcast on the radio.  If Greenberg wanted to be fair to Texas Tech, he should go back on the radio to apologize or issue a statement the next time he is on television, however everyone knows that will not happen.

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Furthermore, his admonishment of the university administration for “not doing anything…to put that to rest” is asinine.  As a former college basketball coach, Greenberg should know that there is nothing a university can do to keep 4,000 students from cussing or taunting opposing players. The reality of the situation is that the more a university or official entity acknowledges and tries to combat poor student behavior, the more fuel is added to the fire that is already burning.

College students are going to do what college students do.  Trying to get them not to cuss in unison is as likely as trying to get them to stop over-consuming alcohol or having recreational sex.

Plus, the chant broke out while the ball was in play and it ended before the next dead ball.  Suggesting that a university official should grab the microphone during play to admonish the students is illogical and likely against the rules that prevent schools from playing music or using the P.A. system during play.

Texas Tech did about as much as any university can do in the situation, which is put out a statement condemning the action.

Furthermore, Greenberg’s employer, ESPN, did not mind capitalizing on the incident as they featured it in the opening of Wednesday night’s Sports Center broadcast.  If Greenberg were truly sickened by this, he should have come out and condemned his employer for giving the abhorrent act more attention.  But of course, Greenberg did not want to bite the hand that feeds him.

And of course, one has to wonder if Greenberg’s angst was not also inflated because the target of the taunting was ESPN’s college basketball darling Trae Young.  Certainly, Young is not the only player ever to have been taunted with obscenities but he may be the most high-profile.

It is fair to wonder if Greenberg is jumping on this issue simply because it is giving him a high-profile platform  from which he can reach the most ears and eyes.  Fans would be justified to question if Greenberg’s indignation is inflated in an attempt to garner more notoriety for himself by jumping on the back of the game’s most recognizable face.

Any level-headed Texas Tech fan would admit that we do not want our students to chant profanities at any player (even at one as despised as former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield who was taunted with the same chant in Lubbock in 2016).  It is fine for fans to give opposing players a hard time but there are lines that should not be crossed and using the F-word should be one.

However, Greenberg must also realize that his level of prominence in the college basketball media requires him to be responsible with his remarks.  While he is justified in standing up for what he believes to be right, he must also refrain from demeaning an entire university and its administration by referencing false allegations that were investigated and disproven.

Next: Quantifying ESPN's Bias Toward Trae Young

If Greenberg is unwilling to use his platform responsibly, is he any better than the profanity-using Texas Tech students?  Perhaps not.  Because at least a full-grown adult should know how to use proper judgement.