Cousins fined, apologizes and gets back to work

Sacramento Kings v Dallas Mavericks
photo: NBAE

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings came down hard on DeMarcus Cousins Tuesday for his outburst in the locker room with a Sacramento Bee columnist that was caught on video and presumably for the actions he has taken against the editor of the website Cowbell Kingdom. According to Marc Spears of ESPN/The Undefeated, the team fined Cousins $50-thousand.

The Kings management issued the following statement on Tuesday, “The Kings have a clear set of standards of conduct expected of our entire organization. As a result of negative interactions with certain members of the media that were not corrected after verbal warnings, we have decided to impose a substantial fine. If this behavior is repeated again we will be forced to consider further discipline.”

The Kings did not and we expect will not reveal the amount of the fine.

A statement from Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins released the following written statement before the game on Tuesday afternoon:

“There is a time, place and manner to say everything, and I chose the wrong ones. Like most people, I am fiercely protective of my friends and family, and I let my emotions get the best of me in this situation. I understand my actions were inexcusable and I commit to upholding the professional standards of the Kings and the NBA. I apologize to my teammates, fans and the Kings organization for my behavior and the ensuing distraction and look forward to moving on and focusing on basketball.”

Some may be critical that he issued the apology in written form and not publicly. A face the press apology may well have turned into a spectacle that would not have served either side well.

If there is any point of concern with Cousins apology from this reporter’s point of view, it is that it did not include Andy Furillo and Leo Beas in the list of people receiving apologies. Cousins did not need to apologize to me or the press corps in general but it would have been appropriate to have included the two reporters who had the target of the anger.

Why did the Kings act now?

The Kings in the past have taken a “hands off” approach toward their star big man. Why did they suddenly take such swift and decisive action in this case with Cousins?

First, there is the video evidence. The videos that have been displayed on the internet are not flattering and are not supportive to any type of explanation that Cousins might have wanted to make about his actions.

Second, some have suggested the presence of new blood in the front office has made a difference in the process. Ken Catanella was brought in during the offseason as assistant general manager to help Vlade Divac with the day-to-day operations of the team. He held a similar position with the Pistons and previously worked in the NBA Office of Labor Relations. He does not have the close ties that Divac and owner Vivek Ranadive have to Cousins.

It may be that a more independent and less emotional viewpoint led to more decisive action in this case.


Was a fine necessary?

I am not sure that a fine was the way to go in this situation. A suspension would certainly have been inappropriate. The solution here should not include harming the team’s performance on the floor and chances of success for the fans.

A commitment to some media training and an apology would really would have sufficed in this situation. The Kings probably felt the fine was needed to show the public that they were serious about the situation.

It is believed the NBA has strongly encouraged or mandated that Cousins receive some media training as well.

What to do with the money?

Fine money in all professional sports winds up in some charitable giving account. The most appropriate use of the money would be to evenly divide the money between the journalism departments of Sacramento State and UC Davis to be used for the furtherance of sports journalism education at both institutions.

Andy Furillo’s point of view

One of the people who had not been heard from was Sacramento Bee Reporter Andy Furillo. The Rise Guys from ESPN 1320 Radio in Sacramento made contact with Furillo in Chicago were he is vacationing for the holidays and you can hear his take on the situation by clicking on this link:


Let’s move on

Hopefully, this is the end of what has been an unfortunate series of incidents involving the Kings, Cousins and the press. Now, it is time to put the focus back on the basketball court where it belongs.