DeMarcus Cousins: The NBA ruled he confronted Spurs TV analyst Sean Elliott in a "hostile" manner.

NBA players union to appeal suspension of Kings' DeMarcus Cousins

Published: Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 1C

The National Basketball Players Association will appeal the NBA's two-game suspension of Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.

Cousins was suspended by the league for returning to the court to confront San Antonio Spurs television analyst Sean Elliott about comments Elliott made about him during Friday's game.

After the game, Cousins had messages on his phone about Elliott's criticism of him during the Spurs broadcast for being disrespectful to star Tim Duncan.

The league ruled that Cousins confronted Elliott in a "hostile" manner. In a statement, union executive director Billy Hunter called the punishment "excessive and unwarranted."

"We recognize the Commissioner's desire to discourage confrontations between players and members of the media," Hunter said. "But he needs to exercise more subtlety and discretion in ascertaining and examining the specific facts and circumstances before handing down such heavy-handed discipline."

Cousins addressed the issue in a statement from his agent.

"I appreciate the support of the NBA Players Association in appeal of my suspension by the NBA," Cousins said. "I believe it best to allow the union and my agent, John Greig, to present my position about the situation."

The union sought to have the penalty reduced to one game, which would have allowed Cousins to play in Tuesday's loss to Portland, but that appeal was denied.

Cousins will return to the lineup Friday when the Kings host the Atlanta Hawks.

The Kings lost both games without Cousins.

"Despite believing the penalty unwarranted, I want to apologize to the Sacramento Kings, our fans and especially to my coaches and teammates for this distraction of our goals," Cousins said. "As a leader of the team, I have to make the best decisions so my teammates can count on me. I am committed to continued growth and being the best player I can be."

Cousins, who leads the Kings in scoring and rebounding, met with the media after Wednesday's practice, but he didn't discuss specifics of the incident because of the appeal.

And Cousins said he doesn't plan to tell his side of the story even when the appeal process is over.

"I'm past that," Cousins said. "People are going to believe what they want to believe. So I'm not really worried about it."

It wasn't easy to watch the games he missed, Cousins said. Both were double-digit losses, and the Kings now have a three-game losing streak.

"It's very hard," Cousins said. "Just to see my team out there battling without me and definitely a position I don't want to be in again. I apologize again to my team."

Kings coach Keith Smart said it will take Cousins some time to get back into a game rhythm and that Cousins provides an "anchor" in the frontcourt that was missed.

"He'll be pressing a little bit because he wants to help get us back out of this hole," Smart said. "Because he feels, 'I've got to make up ground for what has happened to our basketball team since I've been out.' "

Cousins isn't worried about pressing Friday.

"I'm just going to come out and just play," Cousins said. "Continue to try and dominate each game and help my team win games."

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