The Sacramento Bee has gone live with a report accusing Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins of trying to “control the media” by intimidating columnist Andy Furillo.
...picture this: Cousins angrily jabbing a finger into Furillo’s face, shouting in a profane and threatening manner, because of a column The Bee published last weekend. Cousins then refused to talk to any reporters in the post-game interview while Furillo was in the room. That’s a tactic he’s employed before when he’s angry about coverage, and it is behavior aimed at controlling and censoring the media.
The column in question detailed an incident involving Cousins, teammate Matt Barnes, and an incident at New York’s Avenue Club which included assault upon other patrons and a pending civil court case.
The Bee does not hold back in its scathing critique of Cousins’ behavior.
Monday was the first time Furillo saw Cousins after the column published. The altercation started with a glare from Cousins, and quickly escalated as the player closed in on Furillo, shouting “We’re going to have some real f---ing issues. Don’t ever mention my brother again.” He continued his profane tirade, as teammate Garrett Temple got between the two and kept his arm around Cousins’ middle, and Kings spokesman Chris Clark motioned to Cousins to stop.
Furillo held his ground. That’s no small thing given Cousins’ strength and size. It likely helped that Furillo is an experienced journalist who was shot at as he covered riots in Los Angeles and threatened by family members of criminal defendants while he covered Sacramento’s Superior Court. He’s seen worse.
But not every sports journalist has that background. And none of them need to put up with grossly unprofessional behavior to cover a basketball team.
The paper also summoned reinforcements from their own staff...
“He is a bully, to be sure,” said Bee columnist Ailene Voisin, who has extensive experience covering the NBA, as well as the NFL and MLB. “He bullies everybody. He bullies his coaches, his teammates, team employees, reporters.
“But this is the first time I have heard of him intimidating anyone physically,” she said. “He normally glares, stares and refuses to speak to the cluster of reporters if someone is present that he is annoyed with at that particular time. Or, he will simply refuse to answer a question from an offending reporter.”
...and most recently released this video of the incident in question:
The one-sided characterization of Cousins and the locker-room incident is drawing quick criticism on Twitter:
@sacbee_news Terrible journalism. What a joke of a news paper— ZACK EVANS (@zackevans) December 17, 2016
@sacbee_news next time try applying 1/10th as much scrutiny to your crimes-committing mayor— Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) December 17, 2016
USA Today’s Sam Amick tweets that the NBA is more likely to align itself with the newspaper’s view than that of skeptical and irate fans.
The NBA was aware of Cousins situation in recent days. Strong sense that a penalty is coming. May be a couple days. https://t.co/YyWS95Cn65— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) December 17, 2016
Cousins’ status is of interest around the league as his contract expires in the summer of 2018 and trade rumors have swirled around him constantly since his temperamental nature became common knowledge. Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck suggests that this kind of incident will inhibit Sacramento’s ability to move him, should they choose.
Every GM I've asked recently has effectively said, "Hell no" on trading for Cousins. This incident underlines why: https://t.co/ENsMZe6Jcb— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) December 17, 2016
The two-time All-Star is averaging 28.3 points and 10.9 rebounds per game for the Kings this season.