(LifeSiteNews) – California law allows a longtime sportscaster fired for tweeting “All Lives Matter” to sue his former employer, a federal judge ruled.
In 2020, KHTK Sports fired Grant Napear, who had been the TV announcer for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings since 1988, for tweeting “All Lives Matter … Every Single One!” amid the Black Lives Matter protests and riots triggered by the death of a black Minneapolis criminal during a police altercation.
The BLM movement was predicated on a narrative that the incident was not an isolated case of police misconduct but a symptom of institutionalized bigotry and murderous intent in American law enforcement, which supposedly did not value black lives. Opponents adopted “all lives matter” as a counter-slogan, which BLM and its left-wing allies quickly branded as racist.
Napear apologized at the time, claiming he “had no idea” the phrase “was counter to what BLM is trying to get across.” But KHTK’s parent company, Bonneville International, fired him, claiming his comments “do not reflect” its “views or values” and their timing “was particularly insensitive.”
In October 2021, Napear filed a wrongful termination suit against Bonneville, seeking damages for both lost wages and emotional distress. “Nobody analyzed my body of work. It was a knee-jerk reaction,” he said at the time. “Bonneville International wanted to use me as a scapegoat. They were scared, it was a tumultuous time in our nation, and I was used as a sacrificial lamb. As I said, we’ll see you in court.”
Last week, Judge Dale Drozd of the Eastern District of California ruled that the lawsuit may proceed, based on two longstanding California statute that hold that employers cannot “control or direct the political activities or affiliations of employees,” or “attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity.”
Drozd wrote that Napear “has sufficiently alleged a ‘rule, regulation, or policy’ under § 1101 by alleging in the SAC that defendant used his termination ‘as an example to all other employees of the Company as an implicit warning that anyone that dared to speak out publicly and criticize the politics of the Black Lives Matter movement would be summarily terminated’”; and that his tweet “can be considered facially political in nature when construed in the light most favorable to plaintiff.”
“Collectively, these allegations are sufficient to plausibly suggest that plaintiff’s termination was motivated by plaintiff’s political activity of posting a tweet containing a certain message,” the judge wrote. “In light of these new allegations, defendant’s proffered reason for plaintiff’s termination — that it was an apolitical business decision — is not so convincing such that it renders plaintiff’s version of events implausible.”
While BLM’s public demonstrations have receded, its ideology still persists in the proliferation of “critical race theory” in public education and in “implicit bias” policies supported by Democrat state and local governments up to the Biden administration.
In fact, however, research shows that police are not disproportionately likely to use excessive lethal force against black suspects and may actually be less likely out of fear of being accused of racism after the fact. In addition, the vast majority of police shootings of blacks since 2014 have occurred in cities controlled by Democrats.