Did Kings television announcer and radio host Grant Napear really deserve to relieved of his duties for tweeting “All Lives Matter” over the weekend? That was the question — or a strongly worded version of it — that was asked by a chorus of outspoken folks on social media in the wake of Tuesday’s announcement that Napear had resigned with the Kings on the TV side, and parted ways with KHTK 1140 on the radio side.
Unsurprisingly, it’s not that simple according to Jason Jones of The Athletic, who explained in a piece on Tuesday night that Napear’s latest comments were a “tipping point” for the organization.
“It was the most recent moment of insensitivity from Napear, one that became the tipping point for the Kings as his comment began to receive national attention and former players made known their disdain for Napear.”
For those not privy, Napear tweeted the following in response to a DeMarcus Cousins — a player Napear has criticized heavily in the past — question:
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
The response from former players at Napear’s comments seemed to indicate that this was not an isolated incident. Matt Barnes and Chris Webber — two former Kings — said exactly that on Twitter. Jones says that three other players texted him personally supporting Napear’s ouster.
Would expect nothing less from a closet racists
— Matt Barnes (@Matt_Barnes22) June 1, 2020
Demarcus we know and have known who grant is. The team knows as well. I’ve told them many times. They’ve seen it. They know who he is. 🤡🤡 https://t.co/4DI4f1DGUp
— Chris Webber (@realchriswebber) June 1, 2020
Other incidents in Napear’s past that put him on thin ice included a claim that “he didn’t understand how disgraced former Clippers owner Donald Sterling could be called a racist if he’d hired Elgin Baylor as a general manager and Doc Rivers as a coach.” Baylor actually sued Sterling for racial discrimination after his time with the Clippers.
Napear was also an outspoken critic of Colin Kaepernick’s decision to protest during the national anthem and once vocally criticized NBA writer Marc J. Spears for compiling a list of the top 10 assistant coaches of color in the NBA.
On their own, these events were not egregious enough for the Kings to take action. In their totality, however, the Kings and the Kings’ flagship station decided their values were too incongruient with Napear’s to continue their partnership.