On Thursday night, the UCLA Bruins lost 76-66 to the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson. It was a huge showdown between two Pac-12 powers. However, the real story of the evening was what happened as the players were leaving the court.
As the Bruins players walked into the tunnel after the game, redshirt freshman forward Mac Etienne was videotaped spitting in the direction of Arizona fans. Specifically, this was the Zona Zoo, the student section of the arena.
Mac Etienne spits on Arizona fans as he leaves the court. Ban this scum bag from basketball for life. pic.twitter.com/fcrtusZ2ne
— David Blattman (@davidblattman) February 4, 2022
When Etienne, a four-star recruit, returned to the locker room, University of Arizona police officers told him he would be placed under arrest and issued a citation for assault with “the intent to injure, provoke or insult” another person, according to ESPN.
“We allowed him to go with the team back to the locker room,” said Sgt. Sean Shields, public information officer for University of Arizona police. “And he was arrested for assault.”
Shield told ESPN that Etienne will be given a court date in Arizona but might be allowed to address the citation without traveling. The UA police also planned to release more information about any exchange between Etienne and the fan or fans he allegedly spat on soon.
According to some reports and videos, Etienne allegedly spat in the direction of fans during halftime as well.
— Barstool Arizona (#7) (@UofABarstool) February 4, 2022
“UCLA Athletics is committed to and expects the highest level of sportsmanship,” the school said in a statement. “We are aware of the incident involving a student-athlete at tonight’s men’s basketball game, and the matter is under review.”
It’s a pretty ugly situation and, understandably, led to a lot of strong opinions amongst those in the college basketball world on Twitter.
Not saying what Mac Etienne was right, because it wasn’t and he should be rightfully suspended, but let’s remember how we were at 19 years old.
Keep that in mind when scolding him on Twitter.
— Justin Spears (@JustinESports) February 4, 2022
Mac Etienne did what? Oh dear. That is truly reprehensible. That needs to be dealt with swiftly by Cronin.
— Mike Regalado 🏀🏈🎧 (@MikeRegaladoLA) February 4, 2022
This is how the wheels come off a college sports program. UCLA basketball player arrested for assault following loss to Arizona. pic.twitter.com/CZAEyAEhgV
— Morgan Loew (@morganloewcbs5) February 4, 2022
— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) February 4, 2022
We’ll have to see if UCLA or the Pac-12 punish Etienne over the incident and what else may come of it regarding the way fans and players interact during games.