King’s Ransom

Not long after I graduated college, I took up a job as a server at this high-scale restaurant in suburban Maryland. While the money wasn’t great, it was sufficient for my post-graduate survival and soon enough I was promoted to head server, then bartender in less than a year.

My manager, a Napoleon-esque man with a temper shorter than his stature, ran the joint with an iron fist and short leash, but I always thought our relationship was solid. The restaurant’s owner was a wealthy man who I also considered myself on good terms with although I never took the time to really converse and build a rapport with him – that was my mistake.

On one of my day’s off, my manager called me saying we needed ‘to talk.’ Without going into the details, I was accused of stealing money.

As I presumed any innocent man accused of being a thief would do, I offensively defended myself, saying things that probably got me fired more so than what I was actually accused of doing. I was placed on some sort of probationary period while receipts and things of that nature were collected to prove my guilt or innocence.

Chris Tucker, Friday

Eventually, the evidence turned out in my favor, but the damage was already done. My manager accused me of being a thief, I fired back, and the relationship was irreparable. The owner had to make a choice as to who to side with and it wasn’t going to be the rookie bartender. I was out of a job.

In the case of DeMarcus Cousins, he’s got ownership on his side.

The Sacramento Kings appear to value Cousins as an indispensable franchise player. This couldn’t be further from how head coach George Karl (the manager in this situation) views Cousins. Karl wants to trade Cousins according to ESPN and now that this is public knowledge, the relationship between Karl and Cousins is not likely to be salvageable. For this reason, I think Kings ownership has to fire Karl.

To be fair, I think Karl is a damn good coach. Ironically, until I was fired, I thought my manager at the restaurant was good as well. I liked his style. But once a person in an authoritative role forces the hand of management by making a derogatory or negative claim of one his employees, the likelihood for both persons to co-exist in a productive manner dwindles.

If Karl’s conviction that getting rid of Cousins was the best route for the team’s success under his coaching, he should’ve expressed his wishes privately with ownership.

The fact that the news is public makes one thing clear, Karl is giving the Kings an ultimatum – it’s him or me. And if I’m Sacramento, I’m choosing Cousins, if not for anything other than a power move. I will not allow a coach to come in and force my hand as a general manager or owner – unless I promised him that type of control prior to hiring him. This is my team, not yours.

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