Australian basketball superstar Ben Simmons has taken a potshot at former AFL player turned commentator Kane Cornes and other panellists on the Footy Show, labelling them ‘idiots’.
Simmons drew the attention of Cornes last year after an incident at Crown Casino last year, in which the NBA star said he and his friends were racially profiled outside the Melbourne venue and denied entry.
'WHAT A MASTERPIECE': 29-year first in NBA Game 3 boilover
BARING IT ALL: Liz Cambage's powerful Playboy shoot
Conflicting reports suggested the group had been refused entry after not providing ID, something the Philadelphia 76ers superstar denied.
Crown said it ‘strenuously’ rejected any suggestion it had profiled Simmons.
Weeks after the incident, Cornes threw himself into the fray by criticising Simmons, a lifelong Essendon Bombers fan, for accepting a Melbourne Demons jersey at an AFL game as part work his was doing as a tourism ambassador for Victoria.
The former Port Adelaide player said he was ‘sick’ of Simmons and told him to go back to Philadelphia.
Simmons opened up about his experiences with racism both in Australia and abroad with the DoMore campaign, saying the only backlash he’d encountered by speaking about his experiences had come from those working in the media.
“The only backlash I’ve had is writers, media people,” he told host Linda Marigliano.
“They had some people on The Footy Show who were just idiots.
“I don’t know his name. But it just opened my eyes. I’m old enough to know that’s wrong.
“For you to say certain things on TV and go about it that way just shows how you are.”
Ben Simmons speaks about experiences with racism
Simmons’ interview with the DoMore campaign shed more light on his past experiences with racism, particularly growing up in Melbourne.
The 24-year-old said both he and his father, American-born Dave Simmons, had been targeted on the streets.
“I’ve had personal experiences where I’ve been called the n-word, I’ve had experiences of someone calling my dad the n-word and running,” he said.
“I’ve had different altercations.
“A recent one, was in Australia when I was back home. I felt myself and my friends were discriminated against, and were racially profiled. It was definitely a shock for me.
“It felt good that I had a lot of support. For me to speak up, I wanted to give other people that courage to feel the same way.
“Just because your appearance may be a little different, or you’re from somewhere else, it doesn’t matter.
“You shouldn’t take people being negative, racist toward you, or feel less of a person.”