It took three words, “All Lives Matter,” for longtime shock athlete and the career of Sacramento Kings TV presenter Grant Napear to catch fire, but the 60-year-old remorse only goes so far.
“I don’t want to call it a mistake,” the Syosset native Long Island told The Post Wednesday in a lengthy telephone interview. On the tweet and its aftermath, Napear said, “I don’t even know what adjective to describe it.”
Napear resigned from the Kings on Tuesday and was fired by his radio station, where he had a self-titled show known for his abrasive New York style.
Two days earlier, he had tweeted: “ALL LIVES ARE IMPORTANT … EVERYONE!” in response to former Kings star DeMarcus Cousins, who asked Napear what he thought of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Napear, who insists that he didn’t know that “All Lives Matter” is a phrase often used to belittle the Black Lives Matter movement, sometimes drowned when speaking to The Post while defending himself against the notion that he was denouncing the black community and Has racist views.
“It makes me feel sick to my stomach because it’s the complete opposite of who I am,” he said. “I am 60 years old. I will leave the record of my life and what I have done for my community and what I have done. … People who know me, of all races, will let them tell the story. “
Napear said he was surprised by Cousins’ question, saying he had previously silenced Cousins on Twitter because he “didn’t mind seeing all the jokes” about Cousins after the Kings traded the fifth overall pick in 2017.
But the two have had an unstable relationship for a long time.
“It was very turbulent, from time to time,” Napear said of their relationship, which started when Cousins was drafted in 2010. “He was constantly in trouble, getting on suspensions. He was a very volatile personality. And I had a talk show. and there were times when I had to criticize him. I’m sure he didn’t appreciate my criticism. “
Like in 2019, when Napear called Cousins ”the roughest, rudest, and vilest player I’ve ever met in my 31 years in the NBA,” after Cousins cursed Raptors fans who applauded his injury. Warriors teammate Kevin Durant, during the end of that year.
Attempts to contact Cousins, who was resigned by the Lakers in February, had no response.
“Lol as expected,” Cousins responded to Napear’s “All Lives Matter” tweet, which was followed by two other former Kings players who called Napear.
“I would not expect less of a racist in the closet,” tweeted Matt Barnes, who Napear said participated in his charity golf tournament.
“Demarcus we know and we know who the grant is,” said former Kings Kings All-Star Chris Webber, who is now an NBA analyst on TNT. “The team also knows it. I have told you many times. They have seen. They know who he is, ”said Webber, adding two clown emojis.
Webber did not respond to multiple requests for interviews.
“In my 32 years of making the Sacramento Kings, no one on the radio station or the Kings ever mentioned anything about me and my relationships with minorities, with any other group of people.” Napear said. “That is an absolute disgrace that one would say sometime. That is an absolute disgrace. “
Napear said he also criticized Webber on and off the court, saying Webber and Cousins were “two of the most sensitive athletes” he has ever been with.
Since the tweet “All Lives Matter” was published, critics of Napear have pointed to what they believe to be other examples of Napear crossing the racial line.
While the NBA was investigating disgraced former Clippers owner Donald Sterling in 2014, after a clip of Sterling leaked making racist remarks about African-Americans, a caller asked Napear if he thought Sterling was racist.
“I said something like, ‘I don’t know if Donald Sterling is racist, I don’t know, but what I do know is that it’s very interesting that, as the owner of the basketball team, he has a black general manager and a black coach.” That was the context of the conversation. Until I read [the Sterling reference] in the post [earlier this week]I had to go back and ask some coworkers to refresh where this came from because it took me by surprise. I never defended Donald Sterling and the charges. Not even once.
Napear’s response coincides with a Sacramento Bee report of the same incident. Napear said he did not face a backlash at the time. Sterling lost control of the Clippers soon after.
There was also a tweet in 2018, in which Napear agreed with a Twitter user who said he didn’t want to see protests at soccer games, a reference to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling years earlier to protest the police brutality.
To that, Napear said, “When I go to a Broadway play, I want to go see a performance. I do not want to see political statements or social problems because that is not why I am going. I have no problem with people protesting. “
Napear said several former Black Kings players and colleagues have reached out to show their support, but declined to reveal their names.
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, who grew up with Napear, said on his show Tuesday that “to say Grant Napear is racist is absurd.” In my knowledge of him … Grant Napear, trust me when I say this, this is me, it is anything but racist. ”
The Post relayed Russo’s thoughts to Napear, who began to collapse as he spoke of his late father, Bert, who fought for civil rights on Long Island.
“The fact that you told me that,” said Napear, “I am sorry that I was so excited, because if anyone knows me and what my family represents, that is Chris Russo.”
Napear says he doesn’t know what’s next for him, “just trying to get through it today.”
He is on the board of the Sacramento FUTURE Foundation, which offers college scholarships for those in need of financial aid. He has been hosting an annual golf tournament for the cause since 1995, and said at his next meeting that he will discuss how the foundation can participate in the Black Lives Matter protests.
“If I can help others and educate them the way I was educated, that’s great,” he said.