Basketball star Ben Simmons accused an Australian casino of “racial profiling,” after allegedly being denied entry.
The Philadelphia 76ers point guard accused Melbourne’s Crown Casino of discrimination, and said he felt “singled out” when he and two black friends were supposedly barred from entering the establishment on Monday, according to the New York Post.
In the video, the first overall, 2016 NBA draft pick is seen claiming that only the lone white man in the four-man party was told he could enter the casino.
“They didn’t let me in, or him or this guy. Wow, we got a long way to go,” Simmons said in a video posted to his Instagram account. Simmons later deleted the video, but it was grabbed by others and reposted.
— Nick (@Nick_Battersby4) August 5, 2019
A spokesman for the casino, though, disputes the story saying that all were allowed entry after showing security their IDs.
“Crown strenuously rejects reports that it discriminated against a group of visitors last night,” a casino statement read. “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,” the statement concluded.
For his part, Simmons — who was raised in Australia — did not back down from his claim of discrimination.
“As you know an incident happened (Monday) night at Crown and my friends and I felt personally singled out,” Simmons wrote on Twitter. “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.”
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
Simmons recently signed a contract extension worth $170 million.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.