Sacramento Kings

‘Not my job’: Kings TV announcer defends choice not to discuss Stephon Clark protests

Activists block Golden 1 Center entrance to protest Stephon Clark shooting

Activists demonstrating against the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark blocked the entrances to Golden 1 Center and prevented thousands of fans from attending the Kings game.
Up Next
Activists demonstrating against the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark blocked the entrances to Golden 1 Center and prevented thousands of fans from attending the Kings game.

As protesters reacting to the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark have blocked thousands of fans from two games at Golden 1 Center since March 22, some fans and Sacramentans on Twitter asked Kings broadcaster Grant Napear why he hasn't given much input on the situation.

In a series of tweets Thursday and Friday, the longtime TV announcer was direct: He doesn't believe it's appropriate for him to address that topic.

Responding to a Twitter user who asked why he "ignored the statement about the BLM (activist group Black Lives Matter) partnership" the team made this week, Napear wrote: "Not my job. I am the play-by-play announcer."

In follow-up tweets, Napear pointed out that others on the NBC Sports California broadcast team, like sideline reporter Kayte Christensen, talked about the issue "extensively" during Thursday's pregame coverage. He elaborated: "If I spoke out on all the injustices in the world then I'd never be able to talk sports and I host a sports show. not gonna happen. Sorry."

Napear did, however, comment to colleague Jerry Reynolds about the number of empty seats at Golden 1 Center at the start of the March 22 TV broadcast.

Some of his followers weren't satisfied. "It deserves discussion and leadership from all of us," Adam Keigwin tweeted at Napear. Keigwin is identified in his Twitter bio as a public affairs managing director.

Napear insists it isn't his place to join that discussion, but on Friday he tweeted out a call to action of sorts to those criticizing him.

Napear also hosts a radio show on KHTK (1140 AM).

Grant Napear raises his hands as he thanks fans after the Sacramento Kings 112-108 loss against the Los Angeles Clippers during the Kings final season game at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. Hector Amezcua Sacramento Bee File

Players on the Kings, meanwhile, wore warmup shirts that read "#StephonClark" on the back before Sunday's game, as did the visiting Boston Celtics. Kings players were also featured in a pregame video that declared: "We will not stick to sports."

Following the death of unarmed Stephon Clark, Sacramento Kings players are issuing a call to action with the release of their "We Are One" video.

Clark was shot by two Sacramento police officers the night of March 18 and died at the scene—his grandparents' backyard—minutes later. Tense protests downtown, at spots including Golden 1 Center and City Hall, have persisted since then. More outrage arose Friday as a private autopsy said Clark was shot six times in the back and eight times total.

The two games affected by protest saw attendance dip to about 2,400 and about 4,000 before returning to a more normal 11,360 Thursday. The most recent game benefited from extra security at Golden 1 Center.

Ramped-up measures are also planned Saturday's 7 p.m. matchup as the Kings host the Golden State Warriors. Sacramento native and former player for both the Kings and Warriors, Matt Barnes, has planned a rally that starts noon at Cesar Chavez Plaza.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr told his players they are free to attend the rally before the game if they choose to.

The Kings and Boston Celtics wear shirts bearing the name of the unarmed man, Stephon Clark, who was killed by Sacramento police. The black warmup shirts have "Accountability. We are One" on the front and "Stephon Clark" on the back.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee