Grant Napear, the longtime TV voice of the Sacramento Kings and radio talk-show host, has parted ways with both organizations following backlash surrounding his social media comments about the Black Lives Matter movement.
Napear was fired on Tuesday by Sacramento radio station Sports 1140 KHTK, where he hosted an afternoon talk show with former Kings star Doug Christie. Napear also resigned from his television job with the Kings.
The NBA team issued a terse statement Tuesday afternoon:
“Grant Napear has resigned from the Sacramento Kings. We thank him for his contributions to the team and wish him all the best.”
Napear, who had been the Kings’ TV play-by-play announcer since 1988, issued the following statement through the team: “I want to thank the fans for their overwhelming love and support. I will always remain a part of Kings nation in my heart.”
Napear was placed on administrative leave by KHTK on Monday, one day after he responded to a tweet from former Kings star DeMarcus Cousins, who wondered what the broadcaster’s take on the Black Lives Matter movement.
Napear, who has had a long-running feud with Cousins, emphatically replied: “ALL LIVES MATTER…EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!”
Hey!!!! How are you? Thought you forgot about me. Haven't heard from you in years. ALL LIVES MATTER…EVERY SINGLE ONE!!! https://t.co/DfzKl3w0jm
— Grant Napear (@GrantNapearshow) June 1, 2020
For Bonneville International, the parent company of KHTK, that clearly crossed the line — especially at a time when outrage and anguish is sweeping the nation in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
“We were saddened by the comments Grant Napear recently made on Twitter,” Bonneville said in a statement. “While we appreciate Grant’s positive contributions to KHTK over the years, his recent comments about the Black Lives Matter movement do not reflect the values of Bonneville International Corporation. The timing of Grant’s tweet was particularly insensitive. After reviewing the matter carefully, we have made the difficult decision to part ways with Grant.”
Napear’s tweet to Cousins drew criticism from former Kings players Chris Webber and Matt Barnes, who both indicated via social media that they believe this was not the first time Napear had exhibited insensitivity on racial matters:
Barnes even went as far as to call Napear a “closet racist”:
On Monday, as the Napear controversy was blowing up, NBC Sports California, the television partner of the Kings, said the announcer’s comments were not in alignment with its views.
“Our company values and honors inclusion and equality,” the regional cable network said in a statement. “Racism, injustice and violence run counter to everything we stand for and cannot be tolerated in our society. Grant Napear’s recent comments on Twitter do not reflect the views of NBC Sports California. We’ve spoken to Grant’s employer, the Sacramento Kings, about the matter.”
Napear, who is known for a boisterous, forceful, in-your-face broadcasting style, assumed a contrite public stance on Monday, writing that if his tweet “came across as dumb I apologize. That was not my intent. …”
Clearly, it was too late, too little for a broadcaster who once raised eyebrows when, on his radio show, he said he couldn’t understand how disgraced former Clippers owner Donald Sterling could be called a racist if had had hired black men to be his general manager (Elgin Baylor) and head coach (Doc Rivers).
In 2014, Sterling was banned for life from the NBA after being caught in tape after making lewd and racist statements.
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