Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons isn’t backing down after he says he was racially profiled at a Melbourne casino in the offseason. Simmons spoke out about the situation in a long-ranging interview with The Undefeated, saying he wanted to use his platform to inspire others.
Simmons, 23, drew attention to the story in an Instagram post in August. In that video, Simmons noted that he and two of his friends — who are black — were checked by security as they attempted to enter the Crown Casino. The only person in the group who was not checked was a white man. Simmons also tweeted about the incident. The casino denied it engaged in racial profiling.
In his interview with The Undefeated, Simmons says he didn’t speak out about the incident to make himself feel better. He did it because he knew what the casino did wasn’t right. He also believed his platform could help others who had similar experiences.
“It wasn’t really about me not feeling good about myself. It was me knowing that’s not right, and me letting them know it’s not right.
“And knowing that there’s other people that have definitely experienced the same thing but can’t say anything because they don’t have the same platform. They can say something, but they might not reach as many people. And knowing I was able to do that and bring awareness to the situation, I was happy about it, and I didn’t really care what the media was going to say, what people were going to say, because it doesn’t matter.
“Everybody should be respected and treated the same way.”
Simmons, who was born in Australia, said a number of people reached out to him saying they felt the same way after similar encounters. Simmons vowed to keep using his platform to point out injustices, saying “I’m never going to back down.”
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