Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins was suspended for one game without pay by the NBA on Wednesday for striking Dallas O.J. Mayo in the groin area in the Kings road loss Monday night.
Cousins, a former standout at the University of Kentucky, was to sit out the Kings game Wednesday night at Milwaukee.
Mayo was upset that Cousins caught him with a shot to the groin area in the second quarter of the Kings loss. Cousins said after the game and reiterated after practice Tuesday that he didnt do it on purpose.
In slow motion, it looks like I did it on purpose, Cousins said. But you look in real speed, you see what happened. Of course its gonna get thrown out there that I did it on purpose.
Cousins said he swung backward to knock Mayos hand away.
Perhaps Mayo never heard Cousins explanation, but that didnt stop Mayo from saying Cousins is a garbage player when he resorts to such tactics.
I heard, Cousins said. This coming from a guy that doesnt have a great image himself. So what does his really mean? Im fine with it.
Mayo had problems with the NCAA in his one season at USC, which later determined he was ineligible for receiving improper benefits. In January 2011, Mayo was involved in a fight on Memphis team plane with teammate Tony Allen over a gambling debt. Later that month, Mayo was suspended for 10 games after testing positive for a steroid.
After Mondays game, Mayo said Cousins could be a franchise player, but I dont think he wants it.
Is he a franchise player? Cousins said. So how is he going to tell me what I am?
Cousins also exchanged expletives with Dallas Coach Rick Carlisle during Mondays game.
We made a run (in the third quarter), Cousins said. I started clapping, and the man said, Eff off. I said, Eff you, and that was it. And I still got scrutinized like I did something wrong.
Kings Coach Keith Smart said he wasnt concerned about how Cousins handled himself.
Its unfortunate that stuff gets out like that because there was conversation all over the floor (Monday) night, Smart said. Obviously, one of our lightning rods is going to be right there. So its probably going to be taken to a level that it shouldnt be, but there was a lot of conversation happening on the floor (Monday) night.
Smart said Cousins reputation played a role in turning Mondays incidents into a national story.
Cousins reputation was further tarnished after his postgame verbal confrontation with San Antonio TV analyst Sean Elliott last month.
Smart said it will take time before Cousins gets the benefit of the doubt.
We just saw that (in the) NFL a couple weeks ago with the young man in Detroit (Ndamukong Suh), Smart said. A play happens, and right away because of his history, its something. Its bigger than what it is.
As a coach in the NBA, I really dont have time for that. Ive got 14 individual corporations Ive got to worry about and try to manage, and the last thing I want to manage is conversations, what guys are saying about why a guy did this or that. Im moving to the next game.
Cousins said hes not worried about his name being sullied by this incident.
Im good, he said. I know I dont play like that. Im not even that type of player.