Free speech and former Sacramento Kings’ radio voice Grant Napear will get their day in court. During the Black Lives Matter blitz in 2020, he was fired for Tweeting the phrase “All Lives Matter”, and now he’s suing his former employer, Bonneville International, for “wrongful termination.”
Napear is best known for calling Kings’ games for 32 years and for serving as a substitute host for the Jim Rome Show. He responded in May to DeMarcus Cousins’ Twitter query on BLM.
“Hey !!!! What’s your day? You must have forgotten me. It’s been years since I heard anything from you. All LIVES Matter…EVERY SINGLE !!!”
Freedom of speech and country is right. Shouldn’t we all value everyone’s life, no matter, color, race, religion or creed? This is not the case in the Land of the Free, where the BLM environment was toxic after the George Floyd murder.
Napear (in photo at left with former broadcast partner Doug Christie) was “allowed to resign” from his play-by-play job with the Kings on the same day,” Sacramento’s Fox 40 TV station reported. What generous employers at Bonneville International!
Bonneville International issued this statement to announce Napear’s dismissal. “While we appreciate Grant’s positive contributions to KHTK (the Kings’ flagship radio network station) over the years, his recent comments about the Black Lives Matter movement do not reflect the views or values of Bonneville International Corporation. The timing of Grant’s tweet was particularly insensitive. “After carefully reviewing this matter, we made the difficult decision not to continue working with Grant.”
“I made the comment on May 31 and less than 48 hours later, my career as I knew it, didn’t exist anymore,” Napear said. “I said ‘all lives matter, every single one’, because I meant it. Does the life of Black people really matter? The lives of Black people are important, no doubt. I’m for equality for all; that’s how I was raised. That’s how my dad brought up my brother and I.”
Napear is suing his former employer for wrongful termination, discrimination, and retaliation. This could include fear, groupthink or mindless stupidity.
Napear says he is trying to correct a wrong, and clear his name. “I was wronged. I don’t feel like I did anything wrong. I mean, all lives matter…every single one is deemed racist by a company? Others? I mean, who doesn’t believe that all lives matter, every single one?”
The legal complaint says no one from Bonneville International told Napear he was “terminated for material dishonesty, misconduct or any conduct that might discredit the goodwill, good name or reputation of the company.”
“It’s super crystal clear that the folks out in Salt Lake City (the location of Bonneville International’s corporate office) made a hasty and wrong-headed and discriminatory decision when they made this decision to terminate Grant. There was no investigation,” Napear’s attorney commented.
Napear’s suit seeks damages, but he said his reputation is the most important thing he wants to reclaim: “I want my name restored. I want to be vindicated.”
We’ll see if Bonneville International’s attack on free speech will stand up to a full-court legal press. It will be interesting to see if its attack upon free speech becomes a symbol of corporate America’s foolishness and cowardice during 2020’s BLM chaos. Bonneville is wiser than to challenge the First Amendment.