Longtime Sacramento Kings play-by-play announcer Grant Napear has resigned after tweeting “ALL LIVES MATTER” in response to a question about Black Lives Matter on Sunday.
“I want to thank the fans for their overwhelming love and support,” said Napear, who has called games for the Kings since 1988, in a statement Tuesday. “I will always remain a part of Kings nation in my heart.”
Napear was answering a question from former Kings star DeMarcus Cousins, who asked Napear for his opinion on Black Lives Matter.
“Hey!!!! How are you? Thought you forgot about me,” Napear responded. “Haven’t heard from you in years. ALL LIVES MATTER…EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!”
Napear later apologized, telling The Sacramento Bee on Monday that he’s “not as educated on BLM as I thought I was.”
The tweet Sunday came as protests rage across the country following the death of George Floyd. Floyd, who was black, died last week in Minneapolis after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.
“I had no idea that when I said ‘All Lives Matter’ that it was counter to what BLM was trying to get across,” Napear said.
He also issued an apology on Twitter, writing in response to another user, “If it came across as dumb I apologize. That was not my intent. That’s how I was raised. It has been engrained in me since I can remember. I’ve been doing more listening than talking the past few days. I believe the past few days will change this country for the better!”
If it came across as dumb I apologize. That was not my intent. That’s how I was raised. It has been engrained in me since I can remember. I’ve been doing more listening than talking the past few days. I believe the past few days will change this country for the better! https://t.co/Gsh84BPBEk
— Grant Napear (@GrantNapearshow) June 1, 2020
Napear was also fired Tuesday from Sports 1140 KHTK, where he hosts a radio show.
“The timing of Grant’s tweet was particularly insensitive,” Bonneville International, the media company that owns the station, said in a statement Tuesday. “After reviewing the matter carefully, we have made the difficult decision to part ways with Grant.”
‘Equality’ tops list of NBA players’ most popular social justice jersey messages
“Equality” is the most popular social justice message players have chosen to use on the back of their NBA jerseys so far during the league’s upcoming re-start, National Basketball Players’ Association executive director Michele Roberts told ESPN’s The Undefeated on Wednesday. “Black Lives Matter” is second.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 285 of the expected 350 eligible NBA players have decided to pick social justice messages to put on the back of their jersey during the league’s upcoming restart while 17 have opted to continue to use their names instead, Roberts told The Undefeated. While the soft deadline was Monday, she added that the NBPA is still patiently waiting for more players to make a final decision for their NBA jerseys made by Nike.
“The players have taken this seriously with what they’re going to put on their jerseys understanding that they were going to have a platform giving a message to a wide variety of people…,” Roberts told The Undefeated. “Given the large number of guys that are participating, I these men appreciate that this is a chance to do exactly what they wanted to do. Keep the conversation going.
“The guys are excited to get back to the game. Hopefully, we can work to have some great basketball and give some great messages.”
The personalized statements are part of a long list of social justice messages the players plan to deliver over the remainder of the season, which will restart at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., on July 30. The NBPA and the NBA reached an agreement last week on social justice messages that can be displayed above the numbers on the backs of jerseys.
The list of the suggested social messages that were agreed upon by the NBPA and the NBA and then made available to players via email, per the source, are: Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; I Can’t Breathe; Justice; Peace; Equality; Freedom; Enough; Power to the People; Justice Now; Say Her Name; Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can); Liberation; See Us; Hear Us; Respect Us; Love Us; Listen; Listen to Us; Stand Up; Ally; Anti-Racist; I Am A Man; Speak Up; How Many More; Group Economics; Education Reform; and Mentor.
Roberts said there will also be social justice messages on jerseys in languages other than English, including Slovenian, Italian, French Creole, Latvian, Mori, Hebrew, Bosnian and Portuguese. Oklahoma City Thunder guard and NBPA executive director Chris Paul plans to have “EQUALITY” as his social justice on the back of his jersey.
“I chose equality because it reminds us that in order to have real impact and change, we need to make a conscious effort to level the playing field and create systems that are not bias based on race, education, economics or gender,” Paul told The Undefeated.
The selected social justice messages will be displayed above the number during the first four days of the season restart. Players can have a first and second choice, but they do not have to use the space for a social message. If they do not, the player’s last name would appear in that space. After the first four nights, a player can simply go back to their last name. If they choose to continue showing a social message, their name would go below the number.
When asked if there was anything the NBA didn’t want the players to on the back of their jerseys, NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum told The Undefeated: “No. There were no bright lines drawn. There was definitely a point of view that we did want names on the jerseys. There is a functional reason to want names on the jerseys. We knew there were players that wanted names on the jerseys as an identifier. We worked through the issues with the players association to a place where they feel good about it and we feel good about it as well.”
Participating NBA players will get to keep one jersey with the social media message they selected. Opening game jerseys with social justice messages will be auctioned off with proceeds going to a player administered social justice fund to be housed by the NBPA Foundation. Tatum told The Undefeated that the social message jerseys will not be for sale.
Tatum said the players from the eight NBA teams not taking part in resumption of the season will also be given the opportunity to have social justice jerseys made for them as well. The NBPA also plans on giving the players hoodies and T-shirts that they can wear in Orlando. Messages include: “Everybody Love Everybody,” “Make the Change” and “Break the Cycle.”
“This is something we are doing with the players and the players’ association. So, it has been a partnership the entire way. The view from conversations is that this was an important and powerful way for players to express themselves, have a voice and to use this as a platform to engage people on the issues and social justice messages they care about,” Tatum said. Roberts and Tatum both added respect for the decision of some NBA players not to use social justice messages.
“It’s a small minority. I have always taken the position that you can decide how you want to respond to things any way you want to,” Roberts said. “There are people that say, ‘I don’t think putting a social justice message is enough, so I’m not going to do that.’ Or others say, ‘That is not how I roll. I’d rather do something more meaningful.’ Or some others may say that they just don’t want anything on their jersey. And that’s the beauty of being an American. You can do anything you want.”
Said Tatum: “In the conversations that we were having with the players’ association, there was a view from the executive committee that there might be some players who want to play for their family name and that is what is important to them. Part of the conversation we had early on was some guys said that wanted to play for their family with their (last) name on the back.”
Tatum told The Undefeated that NBA players will have “Black Lives Matter” shooting shirts to wear during games. He also confirmed that “Black Lives Matter” will be displayed on the game court. Tatum said that the league is still working on potential social justice messages displayed on the rotational signage seen courtside during games. While the NBA has recently debuted one social justice public service announcement, Tatum said more are in the works that can be used on television, radio and social media.
Tatum also added that players will be offered social justice programming while in the bubble at Walt Disney World. The NBA has also offered the players a private Zoom conversation with Eric D. Thomas, Ph.D. is an American motivational speaker, author and minister, tonight. More speakers are expected to take part in chats during the remainder of the season. Tatum added that a selection of books has been left in the hotel rooms in Orlando and there is a television channel customized with social justice programming.
“There are a lot of things that we hope to do that are still a work in progress,” Tatum said.
Tatum said he has been greeting the NBA teams as they arrived to Orlando, and confident that the environment will be safe for the players during the pandemic. Seven teams arrived Tuesday, seven are scheduled to arrive today and the final eight are expected to arrive early tomorrow morning. The Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets are amongst the teams slated to arrive on Thursday, a source said.
“They players have read about the bubble, heard about the bubble and curious about it. They’re excited to play basketball and to get back on the court. We feel we have the right protocol and processes in place. There is a sense of excitement,” Tatum said.
Roberts said her excitement is only “tempered by the health risks.”
Said Roberts: “Everyone is serious about appreciating the risks that are involved. There also is excitement from a number of them that I’ve talked to about returning to play.”
UFC 251 – From the White House to the Raptors, this was the road to Max Holloway Inc.
THE MANAGER AND coaches of UFC featherweight Max Holloway trickled into the conference room, where walls were covered with screens showing the stats of NBA players. At the front of the room, leading the discussion, was Toronto Raptors general manager Bobby Webster.
Webster brought in the Raptors’ department heads in health, nutrition, operations and media to speak and answer questions. Then, Holloway’s associates were given a tour of the team’s facility. The group was there for about six hours.
“It was a crash course in franchise management,” said Holloway’s manager, Christopher Daggett, who set up the meeting.
Daggett & Co. took what they learned from the Raptors on that day in January 2019 and brought it back to Holloway in his home state of Hawaii. The plan, they told him, was to reshape nearly every aspect of the inner workings of his career — to structure the then-featherweight champion as if he were a pro sports franchise.
Holloway’s medical and nutrition plans were overhauled. His financial planning was streamlined. A corporation was set up, and Holloway, the fighter, was put on salary to promote savings and investments. The idea was to take the distractions out of Holloway’s day-to-day life and have him concentrate solely on training and fighting. Daggett would be the general manager, and Holloway could lean into being the star player.
As Holloway heads into UFC 251 on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where he’ll try to regain the featherweight title from Alexander Volkanovski, Holloway’s life outside the Octagon is drastically different than it was 18 months ago. Daggett, a behavioral scientist and former innovation fellow who served in the White House under former President Barack Obama, has spearheaded one of the most unique fighter-team infrastructures in all of mixed martial arts.
“Before, I was the CEO, the CFO, the broker,” the 28-year-old Holloway said. “Whatever you want to name it as a role in the franchise, I was it. And the player. Now, I’m just the player. They’re not taking anything away from me. They didn’t demote me in any way. I just get to focus on fighting now.
“[Daggett is] really running this like a sports franchise. Holloway Inc. is in business, and it’s booming right now, even in this pandemic.”
IT WAS AN incident on July 4, 2018 — three days before Holloway was scheduled to defend his featherweight title against Brian Ortega — that made Holloway reexamine his career. He and his team, including then-manager Brian Butler, and Daggett, who was an adviser, were sitting in a Park MGM hotel room in Las Vegas, having just finished open workouts. Holloway was moments away from a satellite interview with Michael Bisping and the other hosts of “UFC Tonight” on FS1.
But something wasn’t right, and his team knew it. Two days earlier, Holloway had checked himself into the emergency room. His speech was off; his facial features were almost droopy. Concussion-like symptoms was the best description the team could come up with, even though doctors had ruled that out.
Holloway’s team was unanimous: They wanted him to pull out of the fight with Ortega. Holloway pushed back — hard. Things got heated and emotional as Holloway prepared for the interview.
“He had said, ‘I expect you guys to ride with me until the wheels fall off,'” Daggett said of Holloway. “Our response really was like, ‘No, our responsibility is not to ride with you until the wheels fall off; it’s to make sure they never do.'”
Holloway did the interview with “UFC Tonight,” and the MMA world saw what his team saw. Bisping even called it out in the interview, asking Holloway if he had just gotten out of bed and if he was sleepy.
The clip went viral. Fans, friends and UFC peers expressed concern, and Holloway finally relented. He checked himself back into the ER, and the title fight was pulled from UFC 226.
The team meeting urging Holloway to drop out of the fight was a turning point. The fighter felt something had to change, especially from a medical and nutrition perspective.
“I remember every single word from every single coach,” Holloway said. “I remember everyone that was in the room. I think I even remember the shorts I was wearing. That’s how in-depth my memory is.
“It’s something that just stuck with me. I had this idea of loyalty. … These motherf—ers were being more loyal to me than I was being to myself. They were actually being super loyal in what they said.”
Holloway’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach Rylan Lizares said he did research that day into what happens when UFC athletes pull out of high-profile fights during fight week. His best example was when Amanda Nunes pulled out of UFC 213 in 2017 after not feeling right on the day of the fight. UFC president Dana White said she wouldn’t get another main event, and fans ravaged her.
“She got killed for it,” Lizares said. “That’s the only type of example that we had. So we were just in this nightmare. You can’t just pull out of fights like that.”
The worst part was Holloway and the team still didn’t know what was wrong. Doctors had concluded it wasn’t a concussion or a weight-cutting issue. The team said they didn’t find out until weeks later what the issue was. They believe it was something Holloway ingested that is “available commercially off the shelf,” Daggett said, though he wouldn’t provide additional details.
“Let’s just say he went into the fight under those circumstances and won,” Daggett said. “That doesn’t mean anything. He could have collapsed after the fight and died. That was really the risk for us, because we didn’t know what was wrong with him.”
Heading into 2019, Daggett was Holloway’s friend and adviser. He was known as “cupcake man,” because he delivered Holloway’s favorite desserts after fights. And in early 2019, Daggett became Holloway’s manager. Holloway’s team wouldn’t specify the reasons for the switch.
DAGGETT, 38, WAS reluctant when Holloway first approached him about becoming his manager. He had no experience in MMA and was making more money with his behavioral science consulting business, Paid Lunch.
Daggett, who was a friend of Lizares’ wife, Tiffany, met Holloway in 2013. As the friendship grew closer, Daggett would take Holloway to meet some of his clients. That list included Google and a billionaire from Hawaii — “one of the most powerful people in Hawaii,” said Holloway, though he wouldn’t divulge the name.
“I saw the way he was moving and things he was doing,” Holloway said of Daggett. “I was like, man, I could really benefit from this.”
Daggett was new to MMA, but he knew what a successful sports operation looked like. So he reached out to Webster, who also is from Hawaii and had met Holloway and Daggett in December 2016 during fight-week preparations before Holloway beat Anthony Pettis at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena.
Daggett wanted to see if he could apply best practices from a successful pro sports team — the Raptors were on their way to their first NBA title — to the career of a high-level UFC fighter.
“How do you build the proper management team, performance team, business team around Max?” Webster said. “To me, I think it makes sense. We have 15 players on a team. Max is one player. But everything we do is to support and push and motivate and create the best 15-man team. … How do you set things up so that your athlete can excel and perform at the highest level? I think if you take a step back from that point of view, it’s very similar.
“Daggett didn’t want me to be another statistic, one of these guys going [hard] and then becoming broke. We want to be on an ESPN 30 for 30 sometime, but not for the wrong reason.”
Max Holloway, on his manager, Christopher Daggett
“[The players are] elite at what they do, so no different than for us with Kyle Lowry or somebody like that. Let’s put them in a position so that they don’t have any distractions. They have nothing else to worry about other than playing basketball, leading their team, getting better recovery, taking care of themselves.”
Daggett attended the January 2019 meeting in Toronto with Lizares; Holloway’s striking coach, Ivan Flores; strength and conditioning coach Darin Yap; and primary training partner Michael Nakagawa. They brought back the ideas they gleaned from the Raptors, wanting to incorporate some of them into Holloway’s career and life.
But Holloway was reluctant.
“At first, I had my doubts, just like anybody else,” Holloway said. “Nobody else [in MMA] is doing it. I can tell you that right now. … I’m a hothead. I’m a fighter. I was like, ‘Man, we don’t need this.'”
The most difficult thing for Holloway to accept, he said, was becoming his own corporation and drawing a salary. Holloway now gets a direct deposit every two weeks into his checking account. The money comes from his fight purses, endorsements and investments. The rest of his income goes into savings, retirement and investment accounts.
Once he got over the feeling that he wasn’t controlling his own money, Holloway saw the big picture.
“Daggett didn’t want me to be another statistic, one of these guys going [hard] and then becoming broke,” Holloway said. “We want to be on an ESPN 30 for 30 sometime, but not for the wrong reason.”
One of the first things Daggett did was have Holloway’s financials audited to make sure there were no “landmines.” Holloway said just a few months later the state of Hawaii made an inquiry into his finances, and he already had the information readily at hand.
“I was like, what perfect timing, huh? This guy stepped in at the right time,” Holloway said. “We got everything right; we got everything fixed. It’s so good, man.
“It doesn’t feel great paying the taxes. But at the end of the day, it is so much easier not having to worry about them.”
Daggett, who once worked for the Internal Revenue Service, said all the accounts are in Holloway’s name, and Holloway has veto power over everything. Daggett set up Holloway with the ability to see Holloway Inc.’s profit and loss statement on his phone in real time.
There were some changes on the branding side too. Holloway is no longer with Monster Energy and Anheuser-Busch Hawaii. While the team won’t comment specifically on other current or future endorsement deals, Holloway has a unique deal with the men’s grooming company Manscaped, wherein Holloway and his team provide creative ideas for campaigns. Manscaped is tentatively scheduled to shoot a commercial with Holloway later this summer, Daggett said.
Daggett also has reshaped Holloway’s health and nutrition team. Holloway got a new primary care physician. And a digital group was set up so that Holloway’s doctor, all of the fighter’s specialists and his sports therapist can communicate with each other as well as Holloway’s martial arts coaches and his strength and conditioning coach. Holloway’s nutrition coach is now Jennifer Sygo, who works for the Raptors and the Cleveland Clinic.
Lizares said the biggest thing he took away from the Raptors meeting was how the team was proactive and not reactive with players. Holloway’s team has implemented some of those aspects, with the coaches, doctors, nutritionist and meal-prep partner all having input after seeing data and lab reports and getting information from Holloway himself.
“[The Raptors] can almost predict when their athletes are going to get injured,” Lizares said. “Just using data and certain wearable technologies, they know if their athlete is at a green light or at a yellow light. Sometimes they’re at a red light, and they’re like, ‘OK, you need to rest this week,’ even before anything dramatic happens.
“Seeing that in practice makes you look at MMA and how many injuries there are and makes you see if there’s a better way to do it.”
Holloway started training with Lizares in 2011 and made his UFC debut after four pro fights at just 20 years old. Eight years later, Holloway is considered one of the best featherweight fighters of all time. Being open to change even when he is at the highest level of the UFC shows growth, Lizares said.
And Holloway wants even more.
There’s a Kobe Bryant quote about not wanting to be remembered for just basketball that Holloway has taken to heart. He isn’t sure what he’ll do when his fighting career is over — working on his YouTube streaming has been a recent hobby — but he won’t settle for just being a great MMA fighter. Holloway wants to bring his “Blessed” moniker to other mediums with the ultimate goal being “leaving the world a better place than when you got here.”
“It’s cool and all being called the GOAT, whatever,” Holloway said. “Being known as one of the best fighters in the world. But that’s not it. That was never my plan. I always wanted to be the best fighter in the world, don’t get me wrong. But my plan was always greater than that.”
WEBSTER ATTENDED HOLLOWAY’S third-round TKO win over Pettis in December 2016, and the two have kept in touch. They text each other regularly, and Webster flies to Holloway’s fights whenever possible, including UFC 245 in December, when Holloway lost the belt to Volkanovski. Holloway has become a major Raptors supporter and vice versa.
“I’ve been on the ‘Blessed Express’ ever since,” Webster said. “If you’re from Hawaii, it’s almost like instantaneous credibility and respect. So from that point of view, if this kid is where he is and he’s from Waianae, he’s from Hawaii, it’s automatically an immense amount of respect for who he is and what he’s done.”
Before being hired by the Raptors in 2013, Webster, who has an economics degree, worked for the NBA in roles having to do with collective bargaining, salary cap and luxury tax planning. He was a numbers guy — not a basketball guy. In that way, Webster sees a bit of himself in Daggett.
“I’m an outsider,” Webster said. “I have a ton of respect for that.
“At [Daggett’s] age, to be able to have the vision to see that that’s where the best future for Max and for the team was, obviously it says a lot about who he is and how he pushes himself and how he’s willing to take risks.”
When Daggett agreed to be Holloway’s manager, both knew there would be some learning on the job and tangible change wouldn’t happen right away. Holloway trusted Daggett. Lizares said the team has “the ultimate level of trust” for each other.
Holloway’s fighting career did not slow down, though the results in the Octagon have been mixed since the switch. He moved up to lightweight and fell to Dustin Poirier in an interim title fight at UFC 236 on April 13, 2019, then turned around and retained his featherweight title against Edgar at UFC 240 on July 27, 2019. A notable year ended with Holloway losing the belt to Volkanovski on Dec. 14.
Including a win over Ortega at UFC 231 on Dec. 8, 2018, Holloway fought in title fights four times in 12 months.
“I feel good,” Holloway said. “Sometimes you’ve gotta trust the process. You don’t see these changes overnight.
“Of course, we had our ups and downs. We had to do a bunch of hard things. At the end of the day, things will turn around. I’m one of those guys, like no worries. It’s gonna turn. I’m a cup-half-full kind of guy.”
Next up is Abu Dhabi and the Volkanovski rematch at Fight Island — a chance to regain the featherweight gold Holloway has held as either interim or unified champ since 2016.
Webster said he and his friends have joked that it would be fun to travel to the Middle East for Holloway’s fight in person. But of course, he and the Raptors will be in Orlando, Florida, preparing for the restart of the shortened NBA season. That does not mean they won’t be watching.
“On July 11, we’ll all be stuck in Disney,” Webster said. “But I’ll make sure we have a big ballroom and everybody is watching and cheering for him. … Obviously, we’ll all be there huddled around a TV, probably physically distanced and wearing masks, but we’ll all be there.”
Webster and the Raptors won’t be with Holloway in person, but their influence, administered by Daggett, will be present.
“We’re not quite at that NBA level of money,” Holloway said. “I understand that. But we make it work. And that’s one thing that I respect. We took what we needed [from the Raptors], we took a lot of information and we’ve gotten pretty dang close to it.
“It’s exciting times.”
Spurs’ Patty Mills giving salary to BLM organizations
“I’m proud to say I’m taking every cent from these eight games that we’re playing, which for me will turn out to be $1,017,818 and 54 cents, and donating that directly back to Black Lives Matter Australia, Black Deaths in Custody and to a recent campaign that’s called the We Got You campaign — dedicated to ending racism in sport in Australia,” Mills said in a video posted by the Spurs.
“So I’m playing in Orlando because I don’t want to leave any money on the table that could be going directly to Black communities.”
Mills, who is from Australia, has been vocal in his support of social justice and an end to racism.
When allies who stand up and speak out against racism, although a small gesture, this is one of many actions that have a tremendous impact on the person being targeted because they feel the support. It can also make whoever racially vilifies that person reconsider own behavior. pic.twitter.com/MqH3Fc1CqX
— Patrick Mills (@Patty_Mills) July 7, 2020
A number of NBA players have worried that games on TV will pull people away from the worldwide protests that have started up in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police. Celtics guard Jaylen Brown recently said that he was against starting the season but will use the platform in Orlando to spread his message about social justice.
The league and the players union have been working on plans to bring light to social justice issues, including having messages such as Black Lives Matter and Justice Now on the back of jerseys.
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