As hard as this is to admit, there is something comforting in the post-ejection stonewall. When Kevin Garnett addresses reporters and refuses to discuss what got him tossed from a game, it may be frustrating from the standpoint of trying to gather details and facts. But in refusing to offer specifics, at least Garnett demonstrates that he knows making some things public only makes it worse.
DeMarcus Cousins, clearly, does not possess Garnett’s media savvy. After he was ejected at halftime of the Kings’ loss in Utah on Monday, Cousins opened up, as he often does, and illuminated reporters on precisely what he did to get sent to the showers.
“[The referee] was saying, ‘Don’t talk to me,’” Cousins told reporters. “So my response was, ‘You don’t act like an effing female.’ I shouldn’t have said that. That’s about it.”
Well, yeah. Thanks for removing any and all doubt as to whether that ejection was warranted, DMC.
Cousins made several other comments about his two technical fouls, which were reported at length by Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Read it in full, and it is tough to not continually yell at your computer screen, “Stop talking, DeMarcus! Stop it!”
Yet Cousins has been far from reserved after games this season. Jones’ postgame reports have been filled with Cousins’ vague shots at coach Keith Smart and not-so-veiled displeasure with the Kings’ system or personnel. Smart and some of the team’s leaders, like Isaiah Thomas, have said all the right things, but it was interesting that neither showed up until the end of Cousins’ exchange with the officials on Monday. By then, Cousins was already rung up. Coincidentally, the Kings came into the second half with renewed vigor and outplayed the Jazz for most of the third and fourth quarters before fading in overtime without their most talented player.
This is where the postgame stonewall is so effective. It forces everyone — players, coaches, reporters, officials — to move on. Nothing to see here. It is what it is. Although it does not necessarily correct the misbehavior, it does prevent teammates and coaches from having to address the issue a second time. It keeps the politically incorrect language of the court, which almost always sounds bad when translated into the everyday dialogue, where it belongs.
Nobody should be so naïve to expect Cousins to suddenly change his behavior. Like Charles Barkley, Rasheed Wallace and the many great artists of the ejection before him, Cousins probably will earn oodles of technical fouls and early exits well into his late 30s. But each ejection adds evidence to support his critics. He is already feeding the beast. He does not need to offer it dessert, too.
The next time Cousins runs afoul with the refs, he should keep two things in mind: Be repentant and boring.
“I wanted to ask the official what I did to deserve the first technical foul, and he felt like that warranted an ejection,” he can say. “I disagree with his decision, but I apologize to my teammates for putting them in that position.”
Although that is far from a solution to Cousins’ many issues, at least it is a start.