In one of the weirder stories we've ever seen related to announcers, Kings center DeMarcus Cousins has been suspended two games by the NBA for a confrontation with Spurs analyst and former player Sean Elliott. It all happened after the Spurs beat the Kings 97-86 Friday night. During the 4th Quarter, Cousins apparently dared to talk some trash to Tim Duncan. Elliott saw this in the booth and gave the combustible Cousins a lecture. Somehow, Cousins caught wind of Elliott's criticism and went to confront him after he wrapped up the broadcast. Here's how Mike Monroe of MySanAntonio.com explained the entire sequence…
After overpowering Duncan for two baskets and drawing a shooting foul on the Spurs star with about five minutes left, Cousins bellowed to his teammates on the Kings’ bench after drawing a shooting foul on the future Hall of Famer.
Elliott paraphrased Cousins as saying, “I’m going to bust his (expletive).”
Elliott responded after Duncan blocked a Cousins shot at the rim and scored three baskets.
“That’s why some humility is in order,” Elliott said on the air. “You think you’re dominating Tim Duncan, you get it stuffed right back in your face. Timmy doesn’t like to talk trash. But if guys start talking mess to him, he’s going to respond. All that trash talking was premature. I’m not about to let these guys off the hook. Young ballclub should learn from this. Don’t start talking and flapping your gums against one of the greatest players ever. He’s going to make you pay. Tell me who got the best of this exchange.”
Apparently informed postgame of Elliott’s remarks, Cousins appeared on the court in his uniform and confronted Elliott after he and broadcaster Bill Land completed their postgame show.
“I was wondering why Cousins was out there in his uniform waiting for them to finish his postgame show,” said Bill Schoening, who does the play-by-play call on radio broadcasts of Spurs games. “Then I saw them in an animated conversation out on the court.
“I observed Sean walk away from Cousins and Cousins continue to talk to Sean as he left the scene, but I couldn’t hear what was being said.”
After the game, Cousins spoke about Elliott and called the Spurs broadcaster immature for his comments with video from Cowbell Kingdom…
Nobody has really said what exactly happened when Cousins met Elliott on the floor after the game and the extent of their confrontation. The NBA has said Cousins was suspended two games for confronting Elliott in a "hostile manner." Elliott hasn't commented. Keep in mind Kings rookie Thomas Robinson got suspended a pair of games for almost elbowing Jonas Jerebko's head off his body. A two game suspension for a verbal altercation with an announcer seems extreme knowing what little we do of the events that transpired. One has to wonder how much DeMarcus Cousins' reputation as a loose cannon plays into this suspension.
As for the unique, perhaps extreme step of a player arguing with an announcer after the game because of something he said during a game? That's not a precedent that needs to be set in any league, so from that perspective, I understand the league's need to discipline Cousins. It's not cool to come back out on the floor in uniform thirty minutes after the game to argue with an announcer. The league doesn't want Dwight Howard coming out of the locker room to have a run at Jeff Van Gundy or Hubie Brown.
However, in this case, I somewhat sympathize with Cousins. The former Kentucky star has developed a rep as a crazy person who could go unhinged. But, when you look at his body of work, the criticism of Cousins goes beyond what has actually occurred in his career. As Eric Freeman at Ball Don't Lie writes, "Overreacting to every minor incident simply reinforces the prevailing narrative of his career and dooms Cousins to being called immature until well after he retires." Had it been a random member of the Kings roster that did the same thing, I doubt there would be a suspension, but perhaps a fine.
And in this case, Sean Elliott overstepped with sanctimonious commentary towards Cousins. I'm trying to think of a nice way to say this… Sean Elliott may be the single most insufferable homer sitting in an NBA broadcast booth. If you aren't a Spurs fan, or even if you're a level-headed Spurs fan, it is a brutal experience to try and sit down and watch a Spurs broadcast. Brutal. Had the roles been reversed on the court, Elliott would have been showering Duncan with endless praise for getting inside Cousins' head. He's more partial to the Spurs than Skip Bayless is to Tim Tebow. Elliott feels it's his prerogative to not let Cousins off the hook for daring to talk a little smack or try to teach him some sort of lesson from the broadcast booth? Please.
In the end, who wins in this story? The NBA appears heavy-handed for harshly suspending Cousins for multiple games, Cousins doesn't look good for confronting an announcer after the game, and Elliott doesn't look good as a massive homer. Maybe it's fitting that a story this bizarre is a lose-lose-lose situation for everyone involved.