DeMarcus Cousins says fans have directed racial slurs at him multiple times in his NBA career.
"Oh, I've been called n-----," the Warriors center told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. "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."
Cousins did not identify the cities in which he'd heard racial slurs directed at him. Citing league sources, Haynes reported that one of the cities was Sacramento. The report did not identify which team Cousins was playing for at the time, but the six-time All-Star spent the first six-and-a-half seasons of his career with the Kings.
The NBA told Cousins to "ignore it," according to Cousins.
"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," the league told Yahoo Sports in a statement. "If we confirm the misconduct, appropriate measures are taken directly with the fan in question."
On March 11, a Utah Jazz fan taunted Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook. Westbrook said the fan and his wife "told me to get down on my knees like you 'used to,'" and believed the comments were "racial."
On March 12, Westbrook ultimately was fined $25,000 "for directing profanity and threatening language" at the fan, whom the Jazz permanently banned from all future events at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Cousins said he "[didn't] really understand" why Westbrook was fined, noting that NBA players are "the product" and "push this league." He said it's human nature to respond to hateful language, and especially in a highly-charged, competitive environment of an NBA game.
"If you was somewhere walking down the street and somebody says something crazy to you, you're going to react," Cousins said. "So just because it's a basketball event doesn't mean those emotions go out the door or us being a human being goes out the door. It's the same thing.
"And it makes it even worse because we're at work. If a dude comes up to you at work and says something crazy, does it change it? And it's already enough emotions in a basketball game. I wish I had the answer to [resolve this], but something needs to be done because obviously, it's a bigger issue than they want it to be put it out as."