Ben Simmons Responds to Australian Casino Denying Racial Discrimination

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons, of Australia, looks on prior to the first half in Game 5 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets, Tuesday, April 23, 2019, in Philadelphia. The 76ers won 122-100. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons felt "singled out" after recently being denied entry to the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia.

On Monday night, Simmons—a native of Australia—posted a video on Instagram alleging racial discrimination against the casino:

Nick @Nick_Battersby4

Deleted Instagram story of Ben Simmons getting denied entry at crown casino @BleacherReport @espn https://t.co/RO26l1V0zU

Though the casino denied any racially profiling, Simmons took to Twitter on Tuesday to further address the matter:

Ben Simmons @BenSimmons25

As you know an incident happened last night at Crown and my friends and I felt personally singled out, no one likes to feel like this. I am very passionate about equality and I will always speak up even if it means having uncomfortable conversations.

Crown Casino denied the accusations leveled against it in a statement to TMZ Sports, noting that Simmons and his friends were ultimately allowed to go inside:

"Crown strenuously rejects reports that it discriminated against a group of visitors last night.

"Crown's internal security policy requires our security officers to check identification of those persons they believe to be under the age of 25, this is an enhanced safeguard to ensure that no one under the age of 18 is permitted entry to the Casino Floor as required by Law.

"The group subsequently provided identification and were permitted entry. Crown is an inclusive workplace."

Simmons was a member of the Australia/New Zealand squad that won the gold medal at the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championship. He recently announced he would not suit up for the Boomers in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, though he added he planned on representing his country at the Olympics in the future.

Taken No. 1 overall in the 2016 NBA draft, Simmons has spent the first three years of his career in Philadelphia. The 23-year-old is coming off his first All-Star performance, one that saw him average 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game in 2018-19. 

Simmons signed a five-year, $170 million max contract with Philadelphia last month, the largest deal ever for an Australian athlete.