DeMarcus Cousins said fans have called him the n-word a few times. The Warriors center expressed dismay with the NBA repeatedly fining him for swearing at fans but not punishing fans who cross the line.
Once again, a player talking about misbehaving fans has advanced the situation.
I was told by league sources that the incident occurred while the Warriors were in Boston – January 26th, that game. During that game, there was a fan who muttered the n-word at DeMarcus Cousins. And I was told DeMarcus informed one of the team’s security guys, and they got a hold of the security team there at TD Garden. They took care of the fan. But I was told that ultimately that that fan was banned for the rest of this season and next year.
I was told that the Warriors and DeMarcus were just informed about that recently.
Good for the Celtics for handling this, though it’s not completely clear they acted promptly enough. Teams will never completely prevent fans from crossing the line, but it’s important to hold accountable those who do.
Cousins, through the league, should have been told the fan was banned. Some of his resentment stemmed from a belief nothing was being done, because nobody informed him anything was being done. Cousins made a completely reasonable default assumption.
In Utah, the Jazz just banned a fan a year after he repeatedly called Russell Westbrook “boy”… only after Westbrook made a big deal about a more-recent fan interaction. Players have the power to spark change when they speak up.
The change that should happen here: The NBA regularly communicating to players how misbehaving fans were handled. It’s an easy way for the league to build trust with its players – and a way to hold teams accountable for their fans.