Update: Ben Simmons has issued a statement on Twitter:

Philadelphia 76ers star player Ben Simmons claims he was denied entry to the Crown Casino in Melbourne based on the color of his skin. In response to the NBA star’s claims, the Crown “strenuously rejected” any claims of racial bias.

Race Matters

Ben Simmons and his entourage of friends and colleagues tried to enter the Crown Casino Monday morning. All were denied entry except for a white friend in the group. Simmons responded by posting an Instagram video at the scene, showing he and his friends standing outside the casino after being denied entry.

The video has since been deleted, but Simmons tweeted about the incident, suggesting that he was denied entry based on the color of his skin. He was quick to point out that the one friend of his that was allowed to enter the Crown had white skin, who he referred to in the video: “I find it so crazy that the only guy who doesn’t get checked to go into the casino is this guy,” pointing to his Caucasian friend.

“Thank you Crown Casino, damn… Wow! We’ve got a long way to go.”

Crown Claims

The Crown Casino vehemently rejected Simmons’ claims of racially profiling, stating that they were merely following the casino dress code, which prohibits camouflage pants, among other things. Simmons was quick to tweet his response: “With greatest respect I suggest you look more closely. My friend who got let in also had camouflage pants on.”

The Crown was also quick to reply, changing their story slightly. They moved on from the dress code to the identification check, claiming that Simmons refused to show his ID—but Simmons claimed that he did in fact show his ID.

Ben Simmons was born in Melbourne, and moved to the U.S. to pursue a career in professional basketball. His new contract deal with the Philadelphia 76ers is worth $242 million, making him Australia’s highest paid athlete.

Analysis

In an age of race sensitivity, it really pays to be sure of your actions when denying entry to anyone, especially if that person is not white. We’re moving ahead, Australia, so try to keep up. It’s very difficult to believe that the Crown employees did not recognize their own native son, a celebrity of such stature (hint: he had an ENTOURAGE).

The Crown did not own up to their actions; instead they choose to throw out some quick ‘reasons’ which didn’t hold water under scrutiny. Dress code? Camouflage pants a no-go? What, you discriminate against the military? Or is it rogue hunters? What kind of ridiculous dress code policy is that?

To add insult to injury, the Crown waffled on the reasons for refusal, stating instead it was an identification issue. Crown: see ENTOURAGE. Any doorperson worth their salt knows that there’s more to the job than just sticking to the rules. In an almost unknown code, door personnel in Hollywood, New York City, or Berlin’s Berghain regularly ‘discriminate’ against people who they feel don’t ‘fit in’ to their particular scene. But those types of discriminations are NOT based on skin color.

While casinos aren’t Hollywood clubs, anyone with a brain living in this century cannot possibly expect to have any credible reason to exclude a multi-millionaire athlete from their premises. This is the era of athletes who ‘take the knee’ during national anthems to demonstrate against racial intolerance. This is the era where famous name brands take the side of the protesting athletes in spite of controversy from the rednecks who run America.

On the flip side, this may make people quick to ‘play the race card’ at any opportunity, thus adding to the racially-charged environment. But in the case of Ben Simmons, this kind of thing should not have happened. The Crown has seen its fair share of controversy lately, especially regarding ties to Chinese triads and immigration violations.

So, what the Crown seems to be saying is: triads and sex traffickers welcome, professional athletes of color, please show us your ID.

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Jean Carter is from Oakland, California and studied jewelry design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, California. After graduation, and pining for a warmer climate, Jean relocated to the Tule Springs suburb of Las Vegas, where she owns and operates her own online jewelry boutique incorporating traditional native American styles with her own unique designs. A true fan of the sophistication and glamor of Las Vegas casino life, Jean is also a freelance blogger specializing in all things suave and fashionable surrounding the casino lifestyle.