By now, we’ve all heard the debacle from last night’s game between the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings which involved the ejection of DeMarcus Cousins for telling a referee that he shouldn’t “act like an *effing* female”.
There’s no way to slice that. It was stupid. It was wrong. DeMarcus Cousins, was wrong.
However – when speaking to the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones, Cousins further explained the situation – stating that in his attempt to figure out why he was given a technical foul, the referee refused to acknowledge his questions – resulting in the ejection as Cousins continued to press on:
“I didn’t understand why I got the first technical. The play was over, I was back trying to play defense, the play stopped and then I received a technical. I just wanted to know what I got a technical for. I guess that didn’t work like I wanted to and I got an ejection. The play was stopped for another reason and (the referee) just hit me with a technical. That I didn’t understand. I don’t even know what I did.”
NBA players and the referees are to have an open line of communication – this from the league. Granted, there are appropriate times and places – say like the end of a quarter or half – but dialogue is encouraged if there is an issue that needs resolving. So, it doesn’t seem out of place for Cousins to speak to a referee as the half came to a close.
As can be seen in the video, Cousins wasn’t out of line in the way he asked initially – nor for you lip readers was he saying anything out of the ordinary at first. As Cousins states, he was simply asking the question he desired an answer to:
However, that’s where the issues begin. Clearly by Cousins reaction, you can see when referee Tre Maddox refuses to answer Cousins question which lead to his look of disbelief, before losing his cool and stating that Maddox shouldn’t act like a “bleeping female”.
As we all know, Cousins has trouble staying calm when a situation doesn’t go his way and what he did can’t be defended – you can’t do that. That said – how Maddox (and Scott Foster) handled the situation was just as poor as DeMarcus. Cousins didn’t approach Maddox in an out of line way, looking for reasoning as to why he was given a technical. In fact, he came to him in a very mundane way. Your job as a referee is to maintain order and control the game – players will have questions and for the most part, many referees do take the time to talk to players and coaches but there are the select few across the league (any league, really) who seemingly feel they’re as much of the show as the talent on the floor. Take for example Scott Foster, who was the referee who ejected Cousins – who the hell throws out a player like that? He’s lucky he didn’t dislocate his arm given the force he used to make the ejection call. If you’re going to eject a player – eject him – you don’t need to throw your arms as if you were attempting to throw a fastball into the upper reserve deck. You’re not the show.
Ask players across the league – any league – NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL – there are officials out there who love the power – who love the control. It’s an unheralded job – the best referees (or umpires) are the ones who’s name you don’t know. Think about it – what referees do you know off the top of your head? And you know them because…?
I’m not defending DeMarcus for what he said – it was stupid, unnecessary and he deserved to be tossed for it. What I am saying though is that the situation should’ve never escalated in the way it did. You have a responsibility to the game if you’re a referee and as long as you’re being treated with respect, you need to return the favor. There was no reason for Maddox to refuse to answer Cousins’ inquiries and even less reason for him to continually tell him to “not speak to him”. No, Cousins shouldn’t have reacted in the way he did – but Maddox shouldn’t have either. And frankly – this is more that just DeMarcus and his issues – this is a league wide problem that players continually complain more and more about. Somebody, somewhere, is trying to draw an absurd authoritative line between the players and referees and it’s creating an unnecessary friction on the court across the NBA. The difference here is that Cousins, right or wrong, can’t control his emotions when he’s spoken to – or in this case – isn’t spoken to.
If Cousins gets blame for his poor choices (which he deserves), Maddox and Foster should as well. But of course – it’s just wild and crazy Cousins.