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Spitting Image: An Explanation & Perspective on the Spitting Incident at ASU-Oregon Game
Nate McWhortor
By Nate McWhortor, DieHardDevil.com
February 11, 2014 5:51 PM

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If you follow ASU Basketball to some degree, then you know about the spitting incident that occurred at the Arizona State-Oregon basketball game in Wells Fargo Arena. Unfortunately things like this make for attractive stories in the media, and this was picked up by sources like USA Today and CBS Sports.    

According to The OregonianPortland’s daily newspaper, an ASU student spit on an Oregon assistant coach and trainer as the Ducks came off the court following ASU’s 74-72 victory on Saturday.  

After the game, Oregon Head Coach, Dana Altman, claimed that Wells Fargo Arena at ASU has a security issue in that opposing teams have to essentially walk through the student section to get on and off the court. 

As one of the original creators of the 942 Crew, these are my thoughts and a message

Saturday’s game drew nearly 9,000 fans. Their was a heightened atmosphere in the arena and the game drew plenty of emotion. In the first half the Devils harnessed all home court advantage to go up by 10, 15, even 20 points. It was enough to get thousands of fans off their seats with roaring applause during a time-out.

In the first half Oregon guard, Jason Calliste, roamed in front of the student section while venting his frustration on a play in which he thought he was fouled. This resulted in some taunts from the students. Then Castille and one student exchanged words, before a coach went over to calm him down. 

The Ducks were miserable, hitting 25% of their shots and 1 of 13 three-pointers. At halftime, as Oregon headed off the court down 20 points, Castille “mock-threw an elbow in the direction of a student yelling at him,” as The Oregonian described. You can hear a first hand account of the altercation

The tension in the arena grew in the second as half as the Sun Devils lost all momentum only to watch Oregon fought it’s way back to a 2-point lead. The Ducks were trying desperately to shake off 7 losses in their last 9 games. The play was physical and emotional, and at one point Oregon center Waverly Austin received a flagrant foul on a play that knocked ASU forward Shaquielle McKissic to the the floor.

At the final buzzer, Sun Devil center Jordan Bachynski blocked a lay-up by Joseph Young to seal the ASU victory.  

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Having served as a leader of the student section and one of the original creators of the 942 Crew, these are my thoughts and message:

 

To the spitter

Until you learn to be civilized, please stop attending Sun Devil Athletics events. If you’re the kind of person who thinks that spitting on anyone is an appropriate way to behave, then you have no place at a sporting event. Your actions have reflected poorly on the Sun Devil Nation and in an era of positive culture change, this is not what we want.  

 

942 Crew

942 Crew

To those who blame the entire student section

This one incident in no way reflects on the student section as a whole. Yes, earlier this year a student was escorted from the arena because they threw an object onto the court. That situation was dealt with because students pointed out the offender to security.

The fact is that the student section’s 942 Crew has done an excellent job of creating a significant home court advantage. These isolated incidents are a byproduct of their success, and I can assure you that this is being handled internally. Although dealing with this incident is no fun, I much prefer the raucous student section we have today over what we’ve seen in the past. 

  

To the students

Obviously you don’t know if some fellow classmate is going to spit on the opposing team or throw an object onto the court, BUT you can help in creating a classy environment where opposing teams feel intimidated, but not to the extent that resulted on Saturday.  

 

On the issue of the visiting locker room location

Even as a student it amazed me that the visiting tunnel is located in the jaws of the student section, the only such set up in the conference. I have seen plenty of teams (and coaches) walk through the tunnel taunting the students and egging them on, just as I’ve seen students yelling right back. Saturday’s incident generated a knee jerk reaction with a couple folks calling for a redesign of ASU’s student section. That’s taking it too far. Should there be tighter security? Maybe. If a pattern persists, that would change things. 

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As a new alumn of Arizona State, I’m proud of the energy and passion that comes from our undergraduates. I can also tell you that the leadership of organizations like the 942 Crew and the university that supports them is in good hands. 

With the team from Tucson visiting Wells Fargo Arena Friday night, the 942 Crew will be fired up.

Time to crush the cats.

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