Napear lawyers: Kings wanted to sack former KHTK broadcaster

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The lawsuit filed by a former announcer against a radio station that broadcasts Sacramento Kings games took a new turn this week.

Grant Napear and his lawyers said in a new court filing Thursday that Bonneville International, owner of the KHTK-AM 1140, fired Napear last year because the NBA team he was carrying wanted to sever ties with the announcer and veteran sports broadcaster.

Napear’s lawyers counter in the amended lawsuit that the Kings only fired him after Bonneville severed ties with Napear.

Earlier this year, Napear filed a wrongful dismissal complaint against Bonneville after being fired in June 2020 following a tweet he posted that his radio employers and others saw as dismissive of the rights movement. civics known as Black Lives Matter.

Napear said “all lives matter” in a response to former Kings player DeMarcus Cousins, who publicly asked Napear for his opinion on the move on the social media platform.

Napear said he meant the phrase “all lives matter” in its most literal sense – that everyone matters. In subsequent interviews with The Sacramento Bee, Napear claimed he was unaware that opponents of Black Lives Matter were using the phrase as a way to diminish or stave off a movement that flourished during the height of the protests in the nationwide after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Bonneville, who belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, released a statement on June 2, 2020, saying she had “separated” from Napear because his comments “did not reflect the point of view of Bonneville values ​​”.

“The timing of (Napear’s) tweet was particularly insensitive,” Bonneville said in her press release, referring to the tweet three days earlier.

Napear was soon pulled from the air.

According to the complaint, Napear was terminated “for cause” as defined by a clause in Napear’s employment contract. The complaint cites the clause to read the following: “Any act of dishonesty, misconduct or any other conduct which could discredit the goodwill, good reputation or reputation of the Company”.

Napear’s legal team now say Bonneville is changing its story, amending the complaint to say Napear was fired “only after the Sacramento Kings basketball team held a” reunion. basketball team ”on Napear’s job retention with the Sacramento Kings.

“According to accused Bonneville, during team reunion, Sacramento Kings allegedly held a ‘vote’ in which players and team officials” voted “to end the employment relationship of the Sacramento Kings with Napear. ”

Napear and his lawyers maintain that there was no team meeting: “The Sacramento Kings do not ‘vote’ on the hiring of any other player, employee or executive. “

A Bonneville rep declined to comment. The Kings also declined to comment.

Napear sued Bonneville for more than $ 75,000 in damages for wrongful termination, discrimination and retaliation, according to a lawsuit filed by Napear’s attorney in federal court in Sacramento.

Napear was Kings TV’s play-by-play announcer from 1988 to June 2020. He also hosted an afternoon sports radio show on KHTK for 26 years.

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Grant Napear is seen at the Arco Arena in 2013. Hector Amezcua Bee file

This story was originally published 3 December 2021 5:55 pm.

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Marcos Bretón oversees the editorial board of The Sacramento Bee. He has been a Californian journalist for over 30 years. He is a graduate of San Jose State University, a Baseball Hall of Fame voter and the proud son of Mexican immigrants.



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