Ben Simmons. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Simmons breaks silence on casino incident

Ben Simmons has revealed a childhood lesson from his father after he was called "the N-word" helped guide his response to what he believed was racial-profiling when he attempted to enter Melbourne's Crown Casino.

Simmons sparked a media storm when he took aim at security, who he claimed ask him and his friends to show ID 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 an Instagram 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."

Crown firmly denied Simmons' version of events, saying his group was asked for identification because they looked young.

On the eve of the NBA season, Simmons spoke to American website The Undefeated, which was created by ESPN to explore the intersection of race and sports.

The 23-year-old spoke at length about his experiences with racism as a youngster in Australia and his decision to speak up on that night in August.

"I've had certain situations where I've been called the N-word from other kids at a young age," Simmons said. "And the one thing my dad told me was, 'Never take that from anybody. Never let anybody be racist towards you or make you feel a certain way, because it's not right.' That's the one thing that's sort of stuck with me."

Ben Simmons: ‘I get checked’
Ben Simmons: ‘I get checked’

"The first thing that comes to my mind is, 'OK, obviously it's not a random thing. This is you picking us out'," Simmons told The Undefeated.

"It didn't make us feel good. You've probably been in situations where you felt lesser or just made you feel lesser of a person or just not good about yourself. But 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."

"I'm never going to back down, because I know I wasn't in the wrong. It wasn't a situation where I was making things up," Simmons added.

"And I'm not afraid to let anybody know how I feel about it because I am who I am. At the end of the day, I'm from Australia. I was born there, I was raised. It's where I'm from. And I want that respect too."


Ben Simmons Instagram post after being denied entrance to Crown Casino Melbourne
Ben Simmons Instagram post after being denied entrance to Crown Casino Melbourne
News Corp Australia

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