Over the past year, pro athletes both domestically and internationally have withstood racist verbal attacks and Golden State Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins said he’s no exception to that trend.
Cousins talked about his experiences of being called the “N-word” by fans on several occasions on Yahoo’s “Posted Up” podcast. Cousins claims he told the NBA what happened in these instances, but was reprimanded anyway.
“Oh, I’ve been called n****r,” he said to Yahoo. “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,” he continued. “We push this league, so I don’t understand. When does our safety, when does it become important?”
The issue Cousins was referring to is the highly talked about video of Russell Westbrook arguing with a racist Utah Jazz fan. After an investigation, the fan was banned from NBA games for life and Westbrook was given a fine. Following this recent instance of a racist fan, the NBA released a general statement:
“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.”
When describing his own brushes with racist fans, Cousins refused to name the cities where they happened, but according to Complex, a source has revealed that one of the incidents happened in Sacramento, California where Cousins played for seven years.
“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,” he said. “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 [Mobile, Alabama], they lucky all they got was a response.”
According to Complex, while playing for Kentucky, Cousins’ cell phone number was released to several Mississippi State fans who bombarded his voicemail and texts with racist and homophobic slurs.