Kings owner offers remarkable speech of healing, compassion

Days after police shot and killed an unarmed man in his own backyard in Sacramento, protesters blocked streets and forced fans away from Thursday’s Kings-Hawks game. The protests forced a 20-minute delay in the game, and the Kings sent most fans home.

The protests were in response to the death of Stephon Clark, an unarmed African-American man who was shot and killed in his grandparents’ backyard. Police mistook Clark’s iPhone for a gun, and fired 20 rounds at him. Protests began at Sacramento’s City Hall, but soon moved over to the Kings’ Golden 1 Center.

After the game, Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé took the mic to make a remarkable speech to the crowd in attendance and the crowd viewing beyond. Ranadivé, an Indian-American businessman and philanthropist who’s been co-owner of the Kings since 2010, offered a message of compassion and healing that seemed to come from the heart, not from a press release:

“On Sunday we had a horrific, horrific tragedy in our community. And on behalf of the players, the executive ownership, and the entire Kings family, I first of all wanted to express our deepest sympathies to the family,” Ranadivé said.

He further noted that he realizes the role the Kings play in the Sacramento community, and pledged to live up to the expectations that the city has for the Kings. “It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously, and we stand here before you, old, young, black, white, brown, and we are all united in our commitment,” he said.

“We recognize that it is not just business as usual, and we are going to work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a better place, starting with our own community,” he said. “We are going to work really hard to prevent this kind of a tragedy from happening again.”

It’s a simple recognition of a tragedy, and yet it’s tough to imagine most other sports’ owners, perpetually terrified of ruffling even feathers that really need ruffling, ever making even this kind of statement.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive spoke to the Sacramento crowd. (AP)
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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