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Byrne chastises unruly MSU fans


Mississippi State guard Barry Stewart (22) dribbles past Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe (24) in the second half of their NCAA college basketball game in Starkville, Miss., Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010. Kentucky won 81-75.

Mississippi State guard Barry Stewart (22) dribbles past Kentucky guard Eric Bledsoe (24) in the second half of their NCAA college basketball game in Starkville, Miss., Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010. Kentucky won 81-75. Photo by: (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)


David Miller



STARKVILLE -- What could have been a spectacular night, with a national television audience watching the Mississippi State men''s basketball team bid for an upset of No. 2 Kentucky, turned ugly Tuesday. 


Mississippi State''s image suffered a black eye when unruly fans threw bottles of water onto the court at Humphrey Coliseum after Kentucky rallied to beat the Bulldogs 81-75 in overtime. 


Mississippi State Director of Athletics Greg Byrne isn''t happy about it. 


Neither is university president Dr. Mark Keenum. 


Byrne and Keenum addressed MSU students and fans through Byrne''s weekly "Thursday with Greg Byrne" column about the incidents that took place during and the events leading up to the ESPN-televised game. 


Objecting to fouls that were called during the game, some MSU fans their disgust by throwing objects onto the court. 


Then, there was the incident of Kentucky forward DeMarcus Cousins receiving harassing phone calls and text messages from MSU students and fans after the freshman''s cell phone number was made public. 


Against Ole Miss last week, there was a fracas in the stands that resulted in several Rebels fans being pelted with drinks while trying to escape to the concourse. 


Byrne and Keenum, along with student body president Blake Jeter, chastised the individuals who "embarrassed" the university on Tuesday night. 


"It is our intent to always act with class," Byrne said in the announcement. "In the end, a great game between two great institutions and their basketball teams was ruined by a handful of individuals. Our Bulldogs, playing short-handed, competed at the highest level last night and it is unfortunate that our attention can''t be focused on that fact." 


The Southeastern Conference will not take action against MSU for the incidents, stating, "The SEC accepts Mississippi State''s plan of actions in its response to the incidents from last night" in an email from league media relations chief Charles Bloom. 


Exactly what the plan of action will be remains to be seen, though Keenum offered his full support to Byrne''s measures to prevent vandalism at games. 


"I have directed Athletic Director Greg Byrne to investigate the matter fully and to review security procedures to prevent this from ever happening again in Humphrey Coliseum," Keenum said. "I have called University of Kentucky President Dr. Lee Todd to offer an official apology to the university, its basketball team and fans for this unfortunate incident." 


Bloom said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury will not be punished for his post-game comments regarding the officiating of Tuesday''s game. 


Stansbury walked a fine-line in his take on the calls. 


"I thought it was a goal-tend call," Stansbury said of a Romero Osby shot that turned into a Kentucky fast-break basket with two minutes left in regulation. "Don''t get it. That''s the way it is." 


The MSU coach added in response to a reporter''s follow-up question about the officiating, "Go on and belabor [the officials]. I know you want me to say something. Go on and belabor them huh? Will you pay my fine? You pay half of it (and) we''ll belabor the heck out of them." 


MSU men''s basketball sports information director Gregg Ellis notified the media Wednesday that a request had been made to Kentucky officials to get the phone numbers of the individuals who called and sent texts to Cousins and that if any of the numbers belonged to MSU students they would be referred to the dean of students. 


Kentucky Associate Athletic Director DeWayne Peevy acknowledged the school had been contacted "about the possibility of retrieving the numbers associated with derogatory text messages from DeMarcus'' cell phone. Unfortunately, the text messages were deleted." 


Byrne has urged fans who "saw an individual throw debris on the court to come forward. Please contact me directly at [email protected]


The Bulldogs return to the court Saturday at LSU. 




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Reader Comments

Article Comment Christopher commented at 2/18/2010 11:53:00 AM:

I've traveled to games all over the SEC and have NEVER met fans as outright trashy and rude toward visitors as I have met at MSU.
They are like country bumpkins who never get to go anywhere - and when they do get to go somewhere they don't know how to behave.


Article Comment Christopher commented at 2/18/2010 11:54:00 AM:

I've traveled to games all over the SEC and have NEVER met fans as outright trashy and rude toward visitors as I have met at MSU.
They are like country bumpkins who never get to go anywhere - and when they do get to go somewhere they don't know how to behave.


Article Comment Dreka commented at 2/18/2010 12:52:00 PM:

Games are competitive and every now and then you have outrageous fans however to write how trashy msu is isn't making you look any better it isn't any different and you should think about that! There was no excuse for what the fans did but they did it and the game was so intense you can't say that the person always does things like that! Msu is taking action so let that be done and stop bashing MSU because it's a great school and like any other school their are a couple of bad apples!


Article Comment Ann commented at 2/18/2010 2:57:00 PM:

Why would you delete derogotory text and not turn they over to your coach. Also what about Ky. player making the "call me sign" when he scored. Need to go back and look at the film and see where there is bad behavior on both sides. ESPN is having a field day with this and WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Article Comment bill commented at 2/18/2010 7:53:00 PM:

I agree with Christopher 100%. I couldn't have said it any better. I've heard so many people say things like this. MSU has the reputation as having the worst fans in the SEC. That worries me. You people need to stop being so defensive and work on doing better. I've heard so many people say they'd never go to another State football game. Christopher is right.


Article Comment Jamie commented at 2/19/2010 6:40:00 AM:

The SEC is probably one of the most competitive conferences in the league. What happenned was wrong and those few bad apples did give MSU a black eye. What cousins did was funny, if the fans didn't like it they shouldn't have sent him those text. He deleted them and took it as trash talking. what crossed the line was when people started throwing things. That was uncalled for. Everyone won't agree with every call the refs make, but that is how it goes. They can't see everything that happens. I am a die hard UK fan, and we accepted everything that happened in the South Carolina game good and bad. Everyone has to remember that these are kids and somebody could have hurt one of them. Fans like that are everywhere, we just have to weed them out.


Article Comment pickle commented at 2/19/2010 11:11:00 AM:

Mike Wilbon called what happened in the Hump Tuesday night "embarrassing." That's absolutely correct. He was referring to the officiating at the end of the game.

He had harsh words for the fans who threw water bottles too, and he was absolutely correct about that, as well. There isn't any way to defend what those students did, but it's also way too easy for those who live in glass houses to throw stones (or red high heels, in the case of Ole Miss).

At the very least, those who threw objects on the court should be banned from MSU athletic events. If they are students, they should be suspended or expelled. But before painting all MSU fans with that broad brush, at least look at it in context: on the brink of a once-a-decade win, a dozen or so folks acted like jackasses when the rug was yanked out from under them not by the other team, but by the officials. If you think that this is the type of behavior that could only happen at MSU, as they say, "You must not get out much."


Article Comment Gary commented at 2/19/2010 2:23:00 PM:

The combination of derogatory racial comments left on Demarcus Cousins cell phone and the throwing of objects on the field by MSU fans was a disgrace to all MSU fans. Every game has bad calls or missed calls and that is the way it is. Sometimes these bad calls are in your favor and sometimes they are not - just grow up and deal with it. Bottom line is that there is absolutely no excuse for this type of low life behavior which shows a total lack of class by MSU. Every time I read an article about these incidents the MSU backers always try to blame it on bad calls (like this makes their actions justifiable) and a few bad apples. This is a pathetic excuse for this type of behavior. There were at least a half dozen items thrown on the court and hundreds of calls/text messages sent to Cousins phone. This is certainly more than just a few bad apples. Over the years, I have attended games at most every SEC venue and have never seen anything that tops this level of ignorance. To top it all off, when John Calipari finished an end of game interview, he was not even escorted off the court by the police or other officials. In every game I have seen where there is a rowdy crowd, the head coaches are always escorted from the court by two state troopers. This is truly a reflection of MSU's lack of class and they should have been fined.
To Pickle: Your context does not justify the mob mentality and lack of sportsmanship that MSU displayed. I "get out" and attend at least 8-12 SEC games per year in at least 5 different venues per year and based on my observations; this could only happen at MSU. I will make sure that in the future I never attend a game at MSU and urge everyone else to do the same.


Article Comment pickle commented at 2/19/2010 6:53:00 PM:

Gary, maybe you need to "stay in" and work on that reading comprehension. I wasn't justifying those actions - in fact, I was condemning them.

On the subject of the supposed racial slurs sent to Cousins' phone, where did they go? The MSU administration reached out to UK and asked for help in identifying these individuals. These oft-discussed messages were nowhere to be found. From the sound of it, there were dozens of these offensive, racist messages sent. He can't produce one of them? I know it's easy to label every Mississippian as racist, but has anybody considered the fact that he may have invented - or at least strongly exaggerated - the racial tones of these messages?

Gary, would you mind revealing your university affiliation so that I can make my own observations about the entire student and alumni population based on your comments?


Article Comment Gary commented at 2/19/2010 10:49:00 PM:

The context that YOU wrote "referring to the officiating at the end of the game" is your pathetic justification for the throwing of objects. These are your words: "the rug was yanked out from under them not by the other team, but by the officials". How many times have we heard the excuse that the officials were the reason for a loss? Like I said before; "Grow up and get over it!" It happens to every team. So, what is your justification for the numerous text messages that Cousins received prior to the game?

Your reading comprehension is pathetic. Read the above article (several times) and you will find the answer to your question as to where the messages went. Cousins showed a few of them to the EPSN analysts prior to the game and they even commented on air as to the racial overtones and specific use of the "N" word within these messages. It appears that your game coverage comprehension is just as pathetic as your reading comprehension.

Your comment "I know it's easy to label every Mississippian as racist..." This observation about the entire state population is both ridiculous and idiotic. You sure like "painting the entire state with a broad brush". Maybe you should go back under your rock since your lack of intelligence and comprehension is more embarrassing than what happened in the Dump Tuesday night.


Article Comment D commented at 2/20/2010 3:30:00 AM:

Being as I don't have a horse in this race either pro or con about UK or MSU, I feel that I can make an unbiased comment or two. First, this type of conduct, while not happening at all sporting events (thank goodness)isn't isolated in Mississippi or event the SEC. People might recall something of this nature occuring in a Pro game between the Indianapolis Pacers and Detroit Pistons No too awful many years ago. The people that were identified in that incident were not only banned for life from The Palace of Auburn Hills (The Arena) but they were prosecuted as well.

Getting back to the incident here, nothing and I mean nothing is justification for the phone messages or the throwing of items on the Court during or after a game. These pathetic creatures can't even be considered as or remotely wear the classification of Fans. Real fans don't act like uneducated thugs, or trouble makers. I think a good lesson for these what ever they are that are identified would be to face the same punishment as occured as a result of the above mentioned incident. They didn't learn anything from a conventional Education but perhaps if they were banned for life from all sporting events and prosecuted for their actions, it might make an impression on them that they can comprehend. Real fans know how to act and wouldn't dream of tarnishing the reputation of a team, arena or school.


Article Comment Chris D. commented at 2/20/2010 10:09:00 AM:

Totally agree with Gary. MSU fan made asses out of themselves. They should have to forfiet some home games due to the childish behavior of their fans.


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