Warriors forward DeMarcus Cousins shared his experience with fan interactions during games on Yahoo Sports latest video podcast, “Posted Up.”
Cousins, who is in his ninth season in the NBA, detailed exchanges with fans who used racist language. He didn’t say where these incidents took place, just that it has happened a number of times.
“Oh, I’ve been called n—,” he said, “and it’s crazy because this has happened to me on a few occasions. I reported it to the league, and, you know, I may have said whatever I said back and I was still punished for it. But obviously it became a bigger issue when it was Russ [Westbrook], and he was still fined for it. I don’t really understand it. We’re the product. We push this league, so I don’t understand. When does our safety, when does it become important?”
Cousins added: “I don’t really want to [name cities or teams], because I’m not really trying to put a label on an entire fan base. There are ignorant individuals in every city. I’ll just put it like that. … [The league] tells you to ignore it, or whatever the case may be, but how many times am I supposed to ignore that. Me coming from where I come from [in Mobile, Alabama], they lucky all they got was a response.”
After Cousins said he reported the interactions to the league, Yahoo Sports reached out for a comment.
The NBA released a statement saying: “While it would not be appropriate for us to address any specific conversations we have with individual players, we review all situations involving alleged fan misconduct. If we confirm the misconduct, appropriate measures are taken directly with the fan in question.”
The conversation with Cousins was sparked by an incident that involved Westbrook in Utah.
The Thunder guard said after that game a fan told him to “get down on your knees like you’re used to.” The fan was ultimately banned for life while Westbrook was fined $25,000 for his in-game response.
“I think it kind of went viral with the whole Russ thing,” Cousins said. “I’m sure that played a part in it. He’s had multiple instances in that same city. You even got the one clip of the guy flipping Russ off. Like, when does the game get that serious for a fan? Why are you that angry? This dude is literally out there putting a ball through a hoop. How do you get that angry? “