A photographer working for the NBA as an independent contractor has been terminated after posting an offensive meme on Facebook on Wednesday that referenced Sen. Kamala Harris, Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 presidential election.
Bill Baptist is a Houston-based photographer who had worked with the Houston Rockets for over 30 years.
A person with direct knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports that Baptist had been removed from the NBA bubble in Orlando. The person requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.
Basketball Hall of Famer and gold medalist Sheryl Swoopes shared her thoughts on Facebook regarding Baptist’s post.
“So this guy works for the NBA but covers the Houston Rockets. Has been around for awhile. Even worked for the Comets,” Swoopes, a former Houston Comets player, wrote. “It’s amazing how people will smile in your face but eventually their true colors will how. @NBA and Houston Rockets he needs to GO!!! So disrespectful. Bill Baptiste (sic) shame on You!!!”
USA TODAY Sports reached out to the Rockets but had not received a response as of Friday afternoon.
Baptist issued an apology to a local Houston television station stating that he “deeply” regretted the post and the statement “does not reflect my personal views at all.”
“I deeply regret posting on my Facebook page a phrase that I saw and copied from others as a sample of some people’s reactions to Biden’s selection of Senator Harris as his choice for VP,” he wrote in the statement. “The phrase I posted does not reflect my personal views at all. I should not have been so insensitive to post the statements by others. I sincerely apologize to all of those who have rightfully been offended and I have taken the post down from my FB page. It was a horrible mistake on my part.”
Contact Analis Bailey at [email protected] or on Twitter @analisbailey.