"Marcus Smart made a big mistake last night. He knows that," Ford said. "I know Marcus Smart. Pretty much been around him on a daily basis for two years. Undoubtedly, last night was not one of his finest moments. But he's had a lot of fine moments as a player and as a person."
Smart will miss games against Texas, Oklahoma and Baylor. He can return for the Cowboys' Feb. 22 home game against Texas Tech. But Ford said Smart will be allowed to practice.
Late in Saturday night's game at Lubbock, Texas, Smart shoved Tech fan Jeff Orr with two hands after it appeared the Red Raiders fan said something to the top NBA prospect. Teammates quickly pulled Smart away as he pointed back in Orr's direction.
Texas Tech released a statement saying they conducted a thorough investigation. Orr denied making a racial slur, and Tech says the evidence backs up Orr's statement.
Orr, who has traveled to dozens of Tech games a year, has voluntarily agreed to not attend any Red Raiders home or away games for the remainder of the season, according to the statement.
"I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sincere apologies to Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, Tubby Smith and the Texas Tech men's basketball program," Orr said in the statement. "My actions last night were inappropriate and do not reflect myself or Texas Tech a university I love dearly. I regret calling Mr. Smart a 'piece of crap' but I want to make it known that I did not use a racial slur of any kind."