Monday, February 10, 2014

Bill Self weighs in on hot button sports topics


Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self was asked in general about interactions between fans and players during Monday’s weekly Big 12 coaches call with media that cover the league.

The topic has been in the news after Sunday’s announcement that Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart has been suspended three games for pushing a fan during Saturday’s game at Texas Tech.

Asked if he talks to his players about certain arenas, Self said: “I think we don’t talk about the seating arrangement or how close fans are, but the whole thing is, you don’t communicate with fans. It’s water off your back and there’s no communication between fans and players.

“Certainly that was a different situation at least from my view than a lot of situations that occur,” Self added. “The thing that has always concerned me most is about the storming of the court (after games). You could have a bumping or something like that, that could escalate into something else. I’ve never addressed my team obviously about what happened Saturday in that respect in which it happened (in OSU-Texas Tech game), just in general. Just don’t communicate in any way shape or form with anybody that was there just to watch a game.”

Self on Missouri football player Michael Sam announcing he is gay over the weekend:

“The thing I would say more than anything is there’s a reason why Missouri had such a great season in football. Obviously they have good players. I’m not on the inside and know what goes on. (But) when you have the confidentiality of your entire team in a way in which they did (players letting Sam make the announcement on his own terms after the season), that means you know they got each others’ back,” Self said. “That’s one thing to me that stood out. Secondly, without knowing anything about the situation, it takes a lot of courage and guts for someone to stand up for their own convictions and how they feel and I certainly applaud what was done yesterday. I don’t think anybody should ever have to live or hide behind who they are or how they feel, so I certainly applaud that.”


Sylvia Davis 8 years, 7 months ago

I am concerned, as Bill is about the storming of the court; however, we cannot ignore how close Basketball buildings and Athletic Departments have placed fans that have a direct impact on/with the basketball players of both teams. Some defining of direct impact, falling into them while playing the ball, balls being thrown or batted into the crowd on the floor. I understand about the need for money revenue; but who will back the players and fans in such situations that happened with Marcus Smart? It boils down to a he said/he said and doesn't solve any legit issues the player or fan may have towards comment made. And, again, we should take a look at the ball is out of control and hits a fan - especially a small fan - in the head?

Just some random thoughts - but I think they are legit thoughts and concerns.

Taylor Wright 8 years, 7 months ago

If you're worried about getting hit in the head by a basketball, or having a player fall on you, then don't go. There's plenty of us fans who are more than willing to take your spot.

Phil Leister 8 years, 7 months ago

The Michael Sam story is great. His is an issue that is easy to not care about, or easy to say that he needs to keep that stuff to himself. It's easy until the issue becomes personal to you, which happened to me recently. All of a sudden, gay rights and someone having the courage to quit living a lie became very personal to me, as someone close to me recently came out. For anyone who thinks this is something that should not be thrown in our face, or shouldn't get media coverage, or shouldn't be spoken about...imagine having to live a lie every day for fear that you won't be accepted by friends, teammates, even family. Here's hoping Michael Sam goes on to a good NFL career. Eventually, this will be a non-issue. But as long as there is hatred and bigotry towards this certain demographic, it will be an issue, and one worth sticking up for. It is something that DOES need to be spoken about, because there are thousands of kids, just like the person very close to me, who are trying to find the courage to be honest with themselves and others about who they truly are. Hopefully Michael inspires some of them and who knows, maybe saves their lives.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 7 months ago

Well said. when I heard the news I thought, good for him and his teammates and haven't said much since because your sexuality doesn't matter and it kind of is sad that people have to be differentiated by it. I look forward to the day when things like this are a non-issue so we can accept people for who they are. It is not like I need to tell people I am straight because they assume it, but depending on where you are and who you are around being gay is an issue. Sadly, it may still take someone truly famous to come out for people to take notice in the sports world and to start accepting differences among people and realizing that we all are just individuals who have equal rights to live a good life and be happy. There's my two cents lol.

Glen Miller 8 years, 7 months ago

It was a huge step for him, I agree and I applaud that. But having played football, basketball and baseball I can tell you... inside the locker room is just a different atmosphere. It is not for the faint of heart or the weak minded. There will be those who don't like it no matter where he goes and he will have to battle that. Some people will feel that their privacy is being violated. Some guys will be uncomfortable around him because they don't know anything about homosexuality. Some guys just won't talk to him. I think it will be more accepted then it was when I was growing up, but I worry for him a little. It won't be easy.

Phil Leister 8 years, 7 months ago

You're very right. But your sentence "I think it will be more accepted than it was when I was growing up" is very telling. Two generations ago, black basketball players were few and far between. Wilt faced racism right here in Lawrence, KS. But now, can you imagine Bill's boys being uncomfortable walking down Mass. Street because of their skin color? That's proposterous to imagine happening today. Hopefully, it'll be the same story for gay people two generations from now. The locker rooms may not be very tolerant of a gay player, yet. But that'll surely change, spearheaded by guys like Michael.

Mike Wasikowski 8 years, 7 months ago

I was not a football player, but I was a college athlete on a swim team that had two guys who we suspected of being gay and who came out after their eligibility had expired. I don't recall anybody on the team being uncomfortable about their presence in the locker room or in the pool. Even if they were checking me out, I wouldn't have cared; it would have been ridiculously hypocritical since basically every relationship the guys and girls had were with fellow members of the team.

Tom Longhofer 8 years, 7 months ago

A three game suspension is a break for Marcus Smart?. Smart? costs himself NBA money every time he steps on the court this year, so this is three less chances to disappoint.

Smart? is a great example why a player should leave early if he's guaranteed to be a first round pick, even if that player plays for KU.

Mark Lindrud 8 years, 7 months ago

This has nothing to do with leaving early when you can get the money. This is about being a smart person because I know some GM's don't like his antics and that is hurting him along with his lack of shooting ability. If he came out last year he would have been a top 5 pick and no one would have known about his antics and his true character flaws. Besides, the way the NBA rookie salary cap is structured he may not lose that much money unless he drops to the bottom portion of the draft and some buffoon will pick him in the lottery.

Joe Ross 8 years, 7 months ago

Marcus Smart is a flopper. Marcus Smart was involved in a high-profile altercation with a fan during a Texas Tech game. These two things have more to do with one another than some might assume. In each case, Smart attempts to attract dramatic, negative attention upon someone else so that he may draw some personal benefit for himself. The benefit in one instance is to gain a foul call; in the other, it is to open up an avenue to vent his frustration. I do not mean to suggest that there is no injury to Marcus; only that he inflames the injury way beyond proportionality with his antics.

Dale Stringer 8 years, 7 months ago

Well, I hope Coach Self has taught to players to say "excuse me" after they dive into the crowd for a loose ball. I love the way the guys are going after now, unlike the first half of the season.

As for Smart. Hopefully this will get him thinking straight again. He is a really good player. Unfortunately, he's playing like he is a seasoned NBA star that will get the fouled called on the other guy if he shutters and sells (yes Lebron, just like you do). One of the many reasons I don't watch the NBA. Maybe acting a mandatory course the rookies have to take.

One thing I can see: his NBA draft stock has dropped so low, that he may come back for his Jr season to try to recover. Yes he can recover. By become the player again and stop being the showman he turned himself into.

Rodney Crain 8 years, 7 months ago

I would like to see a change or addition to the rules, for off the court situations like we saw at TT. If there is a situation, the refs can review what film of it is available and if there was clearly unsportsmanlike conduct the player is ejected. No shots are given. But the Ball goes to the other team. Player is immediately suspended pending review by the teams conference on next steps for the player.

There should be no shots given due to the situation being off the court.

Part of the issue at TT is no one had any authority to do anything once it occurred. This would remove the player from the arena, to defuse any further escalation. Suspend the player so that we awaiting a ruling not speculating.

Treatment of Fan conduct is the responsibility of the host arena.

Mike Tackett 8 years, 7 months ago

It's great that we can have HCBS enlighten the savages about the gay lifestyle. This is the same program that has now Columbia PD on their tale regarding the gang rape of a MU swimmer. Real nice, I think we should give out medals or cash rewards for being gay.

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