Simmons doubles down on Crown
AUSTRALIAN NBA star Ben Simmons has doubled down on his earlier claim that he and his friends were singled out by Crown Casino security guards in Melbourne, on Monday night at the venue.
Simmons had insinuated in an Instagram post that he later deleted, that he and two of his friends were singled out due to their race.
Now he has repeated the claim as he said he spoke out due to equality issues being raised.
"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," Simmons tweeted.
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
Crown Casino had earlier on Tuesday responded to the video from Simmons in which he bappeared to suggest he was racially profiled.
In it, Melbourne-born Simmons took aim at security who he claimed turned him and his friends away because of their skin colour.
"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, before turning the camera on a white person.
"I get checked, Mike gets checked and Tys gets checked. Thank you Crown Casino, damn, and they didn't let me in, or him or this guy. Wow, we got a long way to go."
The story has been run widely in America by outlets including TMZ and Sports Illustrated with headlines about the Philadelphia 76ers point guard being racially profiled.
But a Crown spokeswoman this morning rejected Simmons' side of the story.
"Crown strenuously rejects reports that it discriminated against a group of visitors last night," a spokeswoman told news.com.au.
She said Simmons and his friends were asked for identification because they looked young.
"Crown's internal security policy requires our security officers to check identification of those persons they believe to be under the age of 25, this is an enhanced safeguard to ensure that no one under the age of 18 is permitted entry to the Casino floor as required by law.
"The group subsequently provided identification and were permitted entry.
"Crown is an inclusive workplace."
Earlier, Australian entertainment reporter Peter Ford told the 23-year-old to "check the dress code of Crown". "(It) applies to anyone famous or not and any skin colour," Ford tweeted. "He (Simmons) was wearing camouflage pants."
Ben Simmons should check the dress code of Crown. Applies to anyone famous or not and any skin colour. He was wearing camouflage pants. pic.twitter.com/pkfh21Xrr0— Peter Ford (@mrpford) August 5, 2019
Simmons responded, claiming his "friend who got let in also had camouflage pants on".
Ford wrote that Simmons "refused to show his ID". Again, that was rejected by the Philadelphia 76ers star.
Wrong again mate— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) August 5, 2019
News.com.au has approached Crown for comment.
Simmons has been seen in Melbourne over the past week, attending basketball camps, stealing the show at Boomers training and attending the Essendon-Port Adelaide game on the weekend.
He posed for a photograph with a fan in the Crown food court.
Simmons was set to join the Boomers for games against the US and Canadian teams before the World Cup in China but pulled out of all the games.
It comes after the NBA All-Star officially put pen to paper and celebrated his five-year, $170 million ($241.6 million AUD) contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers late last month.
Fellow NBA ace Patty Mills said the players respected and supported Simmons' decision.
"We've all respected his decision but him being still committed to being part of the group and our preparations is huge," Mills said.
"We'll continue to grow relationships with him and vice-versa - we're one big family and we want to go and create history."
The San Antonio Spurs veteran was happy to have Simmons on deck, whatever his role, and opposing him at training could only be a good thing for the team.
"He's obviously committed to being a valued part of our preparations for the World Cup … he's part of our group, he will be for a long time," Mills said. "The best thing about it with Ben is, he's going to make us better at practice.
"The games are one thing but for him to go at us in practice is the best preparation for (the World Cup)."
- with AAP