College basketball world reacts to Mac Etienne incident

"We are aware of the incident involving a student-athlete at tonight's men's basketball game, and the matter is under review."
Dec 15, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; UCLA Bruins forward Mac Etienne (left) and guard Jaylen Clark (right) look on after the game against the Alabama State Hornets was cancelled due to COVID-19 protocols at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

“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.

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.


About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to