The Sacramento Kings announced last week that Richaun Holmes was being shut down for the remainder of the season due to “personal reasons.” However, in a case of twisted irony from what’s considered one of the most progressive franchises in the NBA, the Kings seemed willing to keep this in the dark.
Richaun Holmes and his ex-wife Allexis Holmes have been in a years-long custody battle regarding their 6-year old son, according to Robin Epley. It’s been a grueling process that began two years ago in Los Angeles County and persists to this day in Sacramento County.
Adding to the surprise was the dark fact that Allexis Holmes is accusing the NBA player of domestic violence and physically abusing their son. The mother claims that Richaun Holmes delivered a blow to their son’s head in February that drew blood as he was “taking out his frustration.”
After Allexis Holmes filed a restraining order on behalf of their son, a Sacramento County judge has ordered the father to stay away from the child until both parents appear in court later this month.
Richaun Holmes’ defense has denied the accusations, calling the NBA player an “exemplary parent” and characterizing the claims of abuse as “baseless.” Holmes, himself, took to social media to strongly deny any wrongdoing in since-deleted posts.
This is no doubt a matter that can only be sorted out in court and ruled on by a judge at this point, but Vivek Ranadive’s organization needs to provide answers as to why this was kept in the dark, and how long they planned to keep it there.
As Epley noted in an editorial analysis that accompanied her report, the NBA has a long history with domestic violence and an equally long track record of not really doing much about it. Epley details situations that include guys like Jaxon Hayes, Lance Stephenson, and Greg Oden.
One would think that an exception would be the Kings, the team of Vivek Ranadive, who has been heralded as “a progressive owner in an increasingly progressive league.” That’s the least one would think, after all, given the reputation.
After Ranadive was rightfully praised for speaking before protesters following the death of Stephon Clark by the hands of police in March 2018, saying he supports freedom of expression and that business can take a back seat when bigger problems that involve a wider range of people arise.
“We here at the Kings realize that we have a big platform,” Ranadive said just over two years ago. “It’s a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility. 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.
“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 in our own community.”
Ranadive made waves around the league for this and secured a reputation as a forward thinking guy.
Despite being the reason for the train wreck that has been the Kings under his ownership, Ranadive has evidently found other ways to derive praise– all regarding things off the court. For one, he’s got the Sacramento Kings to be considered one of the most tech-savvy franchises in all of sports.
The other thing would be the progressive owner aspect– seemingly the one thing that commands some amount of respect among Kings fans.
After The Athletic named Ranadive the worst owner in the NBA based on polling results from those familiar with the league, Greg Wissinger of The Kings Herald conceded that “Vivek has been very unsuccessful” on the basketball side of things, but expressed that it “shouldn’t be overlooked” that Ranadive has “championed social change.”
But beyond his lone address to protesters in 2018, what else merits such a reputation?
. . .Crickets. . .
Without an overwhelmingly sufficient answer, the question could be flipped: Are there reasons to question just how “progressive” Ranadive is?
At the onset of the pandemic in 2020, Ranadive’s organization offered up the Kings former stadium as a field hospital with the anticipation of a surge in patients.
Kings Chief Operating Officer and Ranadive loyalist Matina Kolokotronis said that her boss had called her in early April 2020 making his righteous suggestion: “What about offering the arena?”
“He asked how we could use our platform for good,” Kolokotronis recalled of the conversation.
What seemed like a move made simply out of the kindness of his heart and for the good of the community was actually a transaction. In reality, Ranadive was charging the state of California $500,000 a month to rent out the old arena up in Natomas.
A little less than a month following the Sacramento Bee’s report on the monthly rent, the Kings announced they had ceased charging the state, but nevertheless kept the $1 million they’d already compiled.
Really, the whole stadium conversion was a complete disaster, which is probably less a testament to Ranadive than it is to standard bureaucracy. The state proved to overshoot, spending $12 million on something that saw just nine patients, and Ranadive had a memorable role in the whole botch job.
It’s hard to look at Vivek Ranadive this far into his reign as owner and see anything than another billionaire donor. He evidently works very hard on his image, even if it means withholding the truth. At the end of the day, contrary to his posturing, it’s fair to posit that he’s no more in touch with the issues of ordinary people as any other wealthy owner.
The Richaun Holmes situation takes it all a step further in questioning this supposed reputation.
Of course, at this point, it is hard to say who’s right, who’s wrong, who’s guilty, and so on in the legal situation, but that’s not the point here. That does not happen to explain why a Sacramento Bee report had to be the source of publicizing this shocking information.
The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson asked Kings coach Alvin Gentry about the situation following the win in Indiana.
“Forgive me for for hitting you with the tough one here tonight, but there’s a report detailing kind of a serious thing with Richaun off the court and I’m just wondering if you can tell us, number one, how long the team has been aware of this? And number two, if there’s anything you can just say … about Richaun and his character?”
“I know that we’re aware of it,” Gentry responded. “I’ve not read the article (Epley’s) so I can’t respond to it, I’ve not read anything about it, but I do know we take all these accusations seriously and this organization stands against any kind of violence. So that’s about the extent of what I can say about it because I haven’t read anything, so I’ll leave it at that.”
That was the first time anyone from the Kings organization responded to the report and it came from the coach, the person responsible for on-court matters.
The chief executive authority in this situation is Ranadive. Therefore, it is his responsibility to lead the way in handling an off-court situation such as this. Yet his silence has persisted while everything has unfolded behind the scenes.
A few hours after the game in Indiana, the organization finally issued a statement:
“The entire Sacramento Kings organization would like to express our strong stance against any form of assault and domestic violence. We respect the legal process and will continue to monitor the situation further.”
Their statement, though, doesn’t answer the questions that stand unanswered.
Why did the Kings not get out ahead of this and address it if their stance against assault and domestic violence is so “strong”? Why is there a concerted effort to portray the organization as forward thinking when it can’t act accordingly? What does this say about the transparency of the organization as a whole?
It would be interesting to see what Ranadive would have to say for his organization.