‘Put up or shut up’: Neil Mitchell calls for Ben Simmons to stand up if he was racially profiled
Australian basketball superstar Ben Simmons has been refused entry to Melbourne’s coveted Crown Casino.
Simmons, who recently signed a $242 million (AUD) contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers, attended the casino with a group of friends.
In a video posted to Instagram, he explains how his entourage was turned away by security.
“I find it so crazy that the only guy who doesn’t get checked to go into the casino is this guy,” Simmons said in the video gesturing to his white male friend.
“Thank you Crown Casino, damn, and they didn’t let me in, or him, or this guy.”
As you know an incident happened last night at Crown and my friends and I felt personally singled out, no one likes to feel like this. I am very passionate about equality and I will always speak up even if it means having uncomfortable conversations.
— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) August 6, 2019
In the video, which has now been removed from social media, Simmons appears to suggest he was turned away because of his skin colour.
But many have pointed out the basketball star and his friends were violating the venue’s dress code.
The group were all wearing front facing baseball caps, which are banned at Crown because they interfere with security cameras, and Simmons was wearing camouflage pants.
My friend who got let in also had camouflage pants on ..
— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) August 5, 2019
On 3AW’s Mornings, Neil Mitchell called Ben Simmons “to put up or shut up”.
“If you believe it was racially charged, stand up to it,” Neil Mitchell urged.
“I just don’t believe it happens anymore in Melbourne.
“I think the US will get very excited about this, they already think we are racist after the Mark Knight cartoon.”
Crown strenuously rejects reports that it discriminated against a group of visitors last night.
A Crown spokeswoman says security officers must check identification of people they believe to be under the age of 25 and that the group subsequently provided identification and were permitted entry.
She added that Crown is an inclusive workplace.
Simmons is in Melbourne this week appearing at several basketball camps.
He recently withdrew from Australia’s highly-anticipated matches against Team USA later this month, citing his commitments with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Click PLAY below to hear Neil’s editorial on Simmons