Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins has never had a cozy relationship with the local media, but things seem to have hit a new low last week.
On Dec. 9, Sacramento Bee columnist Andy Furillo, who has routinely been critical of Cousins, wrote a column about the lawsuit that Cousins and teammate Matt Barnes are facing for their alleged involvement in a night club brawl. In the column, Furillo mentioned a previous incident in which Cousins’s brother, Jaleel, was tased inside of a club. When Cousins saw Furillo in the locker room the Monday after the column was published, he berated him for mentioning Jaleel. We know this because on Saturday Sacramento Bee executive editor Joyce Terhaar wrote about the incident and included a video of the confrontation:
The video package the Bee put together includes a lot more than Cousins’s confrontation with Furillo, and functions as a kind of highlight reel of the star’s antagonistic attitude toward the media.
What’s remarkable isn’t that Cousins has done these things, but that the Bee has decided to shine such a bright light on Cousins’s attitude toward the paper and other outlets. NBA locker rooms are full of malcontents who would rather—and often do—tell a reporter to go fuck himself than answer questions, but fans don’t usually hear about that kind of thing until after the player has left the team, if at all. (Such is the trouble of working a beat that depends so heavily on access.)
The Bee, though, with this video and with Terhaar’s note, seem to be throwing up their hands and taking an explicitly adversarial position toward Cousins. (There’s an irony in the paper’s bold stance given that the Bee wasn’t much for adversarial coverage of an actual powerful famous basketball figure when Kevin Johnson was running riot in their town and doing things like suing the city of which he was mayor and a local reporter because the Sacramento News & Review requested public records, but we digress.) This certainly won’t help things when a Bee reporter wants to get a quote from the team’s star player, but that may not matter much in the long run; it always feels like the Kings are this close to finally shipping Cousins out of town, and a 10-17 record coupled with an ugly public outburst are only going to make that all the more likely.