Did Melbourne Casino Racially Profile NBA Player Simmons?

Ben Simmons claims that he was racially profiled at a Melbourne casino. He first updated his Instagram account, posting a video where he and his friends were asked for their IDs. However, the only white friend of their group was not asked to do the same by security.

Because of that, Simmons believed that he had been a subject to racial profiling at the entrance of the casino. Nevertheless, he deleted the video very soon after he had uploaded it, which sparked some controversy about his claim.

The Crown Casino responded to these accusations, stating that there is a standard procedure at every Australian casino where security guards are allowed to ask anyone for ID whom they believe is underage. In other words, the guards did not recognize Ben Simmons and asked him for his ID.

Simmons is a 23-year-old basketball player who has recently become quite a big deal in Australia and is officially the highest-paid athlete from the Land Down Under. He has signed a five-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers for a total of $170 million.

Despite his popularity, there are people in Australia who do not care about basketball or the NBA, and one of them was a security guard that did not recognize Simmons upon his entrance into the casino.

Reactions to the Incident

Simmons stated on his official Twitter profile post that “no one likes to feel like this,” meaning he was feeling pretty bad for being a subject of racial profiling at a casino. He added that he was “very passionate about equality,” and concluded that he would always stand up for it, even if that meant creating “uncomfortable conversations.”

The casino issued an official statement, claiming that it had just been a regular age check and that there were no intentions of any kind of racial profiling on their side. They stated that their policy required their security to ask for ID whenever they believe someone is under the age of 25, despite the fact that the minimum age for entering the casino is 18 in Australia.

Simmons’ father is African-American, and he is an Australia-born next big thing in basketball, having achieved so much at the age of 23. He is currently in Australia where he was summoned to play for the Australian national squad in the upcoming basketball World Cup that will take place in China starting Aug. 31. Australia played a friendly game against the US, and Simmons decided to pull out in order to prepare for the next NBA season.

Lemanis, who is the manager for the Australian team, stated that he supported Simmons’ right to speak up. However, he added that he did not think Simmons’ casino accusations were “well placed.” He stated that he had not been present during Simmons’ casino entrance, but that he supported his right to “express how he sees fit.”

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