Simmons whacks Footy Show ‘idiots’
Aussie NBA star Ben Simmons has given Footy Show "idiots" a serve 12 months after his public war of words with Kane Cornes.
Simmons on Wednesday opened up on racism he has experienced in Australia and overseas and claimed he had experienced a "backlash" when speaking out against racism.
Speaking with host Linda Marigliano as part of a public interview for the DoMore campaign to unite Australians against racism, Simmons highlighted criticism from the Footy Show when asked about his experiences with bigotry.
Simmons last year engaged in a slanging match with Cornes following his high profile dispute with Crown Casino, where he implied he was racially profiled and was in a group denied entry by security.
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The incident drew international headlines with counter reports claiming Simmons was actually refused entry for not providing ID.
Crown "strenuously" rejected reports it discriminated against Simmons.
In the weeks that followed, Cornes launched an unprovoked attack on the 24-year-old Philadelphia 76ers star by criticising Simmons' promotional visit to Melbourne as part of his role as an ambassador of Victorian tourism.
Simmons, a passionate Essendon Bombers supporter, was spotted on his visit kicking the footy at Richmond's Punt Road headquarters before he was also presented with a Melbourne Demons jumper by Demons star Christian Petracca.
"Gee whiz I'm sick of Ben Simmons. Head back to Philadelphia, Simmons," Cornes joked on the Sunday Footy Show.
"He was there at the Essendon game, then he's down at Punt Road. So he's an Essendon supporter, a massive one, he's gone to Punt Road and then he's got a Melbourne jumper on yesterday.
"Ben, which is it? Pick your team, head off son."
Simmons responded on Instagram by posting an unflattering photo of Cornes with a "#bobblehead" caption.
Now Simmons has told the DoMore campaign: "The only backlash I've had is (from) writers, media people. 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."
The Herald Sun reports Simmons was referring to Cornes' comments from last year.
There is no suggestion the comments made by Cornes were of a racist nature.
Simmons, however, says it is just one of many times he has been a victim of racism.
"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 speaking out about the incident). 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."
Simmons also said he experienced racism while playing football in Australia.
"Parents yelled all types of things at me when I was playing footy (about) how I looked. I was bigger than the other kids, (and) I was black," he said.
"Those parents probably weren't as educated as some people in terms of black experiences."
Simmons last week also spoke out publicly in support of support of US presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Simmons joined the growing number of NBA stars to speak out against President Donald Trump, urging his followers on Twitter to vote for the Democratic running pair of Biden and Kamala Harris when the country goes to the polling booths next month.
Originally published as Simmons whacks Footy Show 'idiots'