There was an earlier version of this story, which I changed after recognizing that the figure in the video was likely Patterson and not Cousins. Oh well, I have been on the road for a week, and I am getting old.
Today was a travel day for me and when I returned to the Bluegrass state, the world was abuzz. Emails, twitter messages, facebook comments, etc all asking the same question. So what happened with Demarcus Cousins and a South Carolina fan? In case you too missed the excitment of the day, the story boils down to this. A South Carolina student named “Steven” (I love how he refuses to give his last name) told a local South Carolina radio show that Cousins hit him with a “chicken wing” and a “cold cock” after the game last night, as he was storming the court. (You can hear his phone call here. Stephen of course said he did nothing to provoke it, and his story was apparently “verified” by a South Carolina tv reporter, who said he saw the whole thing. The allegations came out today, and the internet was set afire. (a more complete view of the story from the South Carolina side can be read here)
After hearing the story, I started making calls on the UK end and found that no verification could be made. Everyone I spoke with didnt see anything, and Cousins’ placement on the court (far away from the bench and dressing room), made it impossible to tell what happened when the masses swarmed. Then, I was made aware of this ESPN video, which shows the so-called “incident.” Originally I (and others) believed that it was Cousins walking on the top left of the video…but some readers in the comments section suggested (and I think correctly) that it is Patterson. So it might not tell us very much either.
So what are we left with? Well it looks as if we now have a case in which a random South Carolina student and a reporter are making an allegation, with no real proof to back it up. Is it beyond the pale of one’s imagination that Cousins could have hit a guy? I guess not. But in a scene like we had last night, I suspect there is a lot more to the story than originally meets the eye. My guess is that Cousins was approached by a swarm of unruly South Carolina fans, running all around the court and likely occasionally talking trash. In the heat of such a moment, lots of things can happen.
I however dont believe that a “cold cock” took place. Put it this way. If Demarcus Cousins punched you in the face, you would know it. And for some kid to say he got punched and then there to be no proof of that, visual or otherwise, I dont believe it. Could he have pushed him or done something else he shouldnt? Maybe. But “cold cock” a kid and the kid has no harm? Not buying it.
Regardless, the incident is proof that storming the court, while cool to see, is dangerous. That many people running at full steam, interacting with players of the other team is asking for trouble. We might never know what Cousins did or didnt do and even if we find out, we wont know the context (which is crucial). But what we do know is that Kentucky lost, Cousins took it hard and when approached by fans of the other team, something could have happened. Thats why the two lessons I live by, (1) try not to let people’s actions get in your head and (2) dont mess with Demarcus Cousins should be heeded by all parties involved. If they had, this would not be an issue today.