Kings fans reacted strongly across social media Thursday upon learning former Kings play-by-play announcer and Sports 1140 KHTK radio host Grant Napear is suing the radio station’s parent company for wrongful termination.
Napear, who was dumped from Sacramento’s airwaves in June 2020 amid allegations of racial insensitivity, has filed a lawsuit against Bonneville International Corp. Napear is seeking an amount in excess of $75,000 in damages for wrongful termination, discrimination and retaliation, according to a complaint filed in Sacramento federal court.
“Wait — He’s the one suing for discrimination?” Twitter user @soren_flyin asked.
Napear was a polarizing figure in Sacramento for more than 30 years. Many enjoyed his work on Kings television broadcasts and his drive-time radio show, but others were turned off by his outbursts as he used words like “idiot” and “moron” to describe callers who disagreed with him.
Napear’s downfall came when former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins took to Twitter to ask Napear for his opinion of the Black Lives Matter movement. Napear replied: “ALL LIVES MATTER … EVERY SINGLE ONE.”
Former Kings players Chris Webber and Matt Barnes responded to Napear’s tweet, adding to the backlash.
“Demarcus we know and have known who grant is,” Webber tweeted. “The team knows as well. I’ve told them many times. They’ve seen it. They know who he is.”
Barnes tweeted: “Would expect nothing less from a closet racist.”
Barnes, a Sacramento native, recently joined the Kings broadcast team as a game analyst despite his history of legal issues. Barnes was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence in 2010, driving with a suspended license and threatening a police officer in 2012, and assault following a New York nightclub brawl in 2016.
Twitter user @SacramentoMarv mentioned Barnes while applauding Napear’s decision to sue, tweeting: “Good for him. We can hire guys like Matt Barnes but fire Grant after 30 years of service for a Twitter misstep.”
Napear said he was unaware the phrase “All Lives Matter” was seen as disparaging to Black Lives Matter, but he was swiftly fired from his radio job amid a social media firestorm. He also resigned from his position as play-by-play announcer on Kings television broadcasts, a role he held for 32 years.
“How is that a fireable offense?” Twitter user @DesertTruthTeller asked.
Another Twitter user, Justin James Burner, replied: “The point of the BLM movement was to signify how (people of color) were treated unfairly by police officers. All ALM was, was a counter culture from racists because they didn’t like how BLM conveyed their message.”
DesertTurthTeller responded: “did Grant tell you that’s what he meant when (he) said that or you’re just making assumptions? Maybe he literally meant all lives matter.”
Discussions carried on for hours in various corners of the internet with little consensus. Some celebrated Napear’s departure while others bemoaned the rise of cancel culture.
“I hope Grant wins this case and sets a precedent for the destructive nature of our cancel culture,” @RandSportsBa1 tweeted. “In the 30+ years I watched/listened to Napear there was never one indication of racism. 6 words…37 years. We’ve taken this way too far.”