(The Register-Guard) Oregon senior Johnathan Loyd was preparing a paper about about athletes and society, writing about how the media were blowing the Richard Sherman situation out of proportion, when he suddenly changed the focus this week.
When Loyd saw Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart go into the crowd and shove a fan Saturday night, the Seahawks' cornerback was no longer the subject of the assignment that was turned in to his Sports and Politics class on Thursday.
"Once I saw that happen, I changed my topic real quick," Loyd said.
Loyd said he wrote about how fans can get wild, but players can't cross the line and go into the crowd.
"I did some research and some people said it was a learning experience and others said it was inevitable that a player snapped in college and went into the stands," Loyd said. "To me, it's emotions flaring and he slipped up. I don't think its going to happen too often."
Loyd said his initial reaction when he saw Smart's shove was, "What was he thinking?"
"My first thought was that guy must have said a racial slur and got under his skin, but you can't react like that," Loyd said.
Smart was suspended for three games for his outburst.
Earlier Saturday, Loyd was on the bench when teammate Jason Calliste took a hard fall and got into a dispute with some ASU students as he paced between Oregon's bench and the student section. Oregon officials quickly grabbed Calliste and led him back toward the bench.
"I was watching that on the bench and once I saw him over there pacing and trying to calm himself down I was hoping none of the fans would get too close and say something, because I knew that he might just trip," Loyd said. "They said something and I just thought, 'Man, I hope he doesn't go into the stands.' They controlled it, that was good."
Loyd said he didn't hear anything that was said but added that, "They got real close to him as he was walking back and forth. They got out of their designated area and got close to him."
Loyd said Oregon coach Dana Altman has warned his players about such incidents.
"He always says 'Stay in between the lines, don't worry about what they do. It is part of the game, they are going to get personal.' Coach says stay in between the lines," Loyd said.
Oregon guard Joseph Young and Oregon State forward Eric Moreland, both Houston natives who played on the same AAU team in Texas, will face off again when the Ducks host Oregon State in the Civil War at noon Sunday. Young leads the Ducks with 18.4 points per game, and Moreland is averaging 7.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
"He is a good player, getting better as he grows and is a good person," Young said. "We used to hang out a lot in Houston. He is one of my great friends."
Young said he asked Moreland about Oregon before he transferred from Houston this year and Moreland gave him a positive report.
"He said it was a good spot to be, a good fan base, good rivalry," Young recalled. "He didn't say anything bad."
Young said he and Moreland haven't seen each other much during the season.
"Just game days, that is why we giggle a lot before games," he said. "We don't see each other that much, but when we go back home I will see him and we will hang out for a couple days."
Moreland didn't talk trash after OSU beat the Ducks 80-72 last month.
"He didn't rub it in because he knew he had to come back here and play again," Young said.
Oregon has eight days off between games and scheduled four practices while Altman also spent time on the road recruiting.
The Ducks practiced Tuesday and Wednesday before taking Thursday off. Oregon was back on the court Friday and will practice again today.
Altman was unavailable to the media this week because of his travel schedule.
He was unable to make his weekly morning appearance on the conference call for Pac-12 coaches Tuesday but returned to Eugene later in the day. He was absent from Oregon's media interviews Thursday but due to return later in the day.
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