Cousins, who is in his ninth NBA season, discussed instances when fans used racist language toward him. The veteran big man didn't disclose where the incidents happened.
"Oh, I've been called [expletive]," Cousins said on Yahoo Sports' Posted Up video podcast that will be released this week. "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. But obviously it became a bigger issue when it was Russ [Westbrook], and he was still fined for it. I don't really understand it. We're the product. We push this league, so I don't understand. When does our safety, when does it become important?"
One of the incidents occurred in Sacramento, according to Yahoo Sports. Cousins spent seven seasons (2010-16) with the Kings before joining the New Orleans Pelicans midway through the 2016 season.
"I don't really want to [name cities or teams], because I'm not really trying to put a label on an entire fan base," Cousins said. "There are ignorant individuals in every city. I'll just put it like that. ... [The league] tells you to ignore it, or whatever the case may be, but how many times am I supposed to ignore that. Me coming from where I come from [Mobile, Alabama], they lucky all they got was a response."
A recent altercation between Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and a Utah Jazz fan has sparked conversations on negative player-fan interaction. The Jazz banned the fan for life after making degrading comments at Westbrook. The NBA fined Westbrook $25,000 for his in-game response.
Cousins said that Westbrook's ordeal going viral forced the situation to be addressed by the league.
"I think it kind of went viral with the whole Russ thing," Cousins said. "I'm sure that played a part in it. He's had multiple instances in that same city. You even got the one clip of the guy flipping Russ off. Like, when does the game get that serious for a fan? Why are you that angry? This dude is literally out there putting a ball through a hoop. How do you get that angry?"
The NBA released a statement after Cousins' recent comments, saying "we review all situations involving alleged fan misconduct."
"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 said. "If we confirm the misconduct, appropriate measures are taken directly with the fan in question."