Kings once again close doors to fans due to protest outside arena


For the second time in under a week, the Sacramento Kings decided to close the doors to Golden 1 Center on Tuesday due to safety concerns as a result of protests occurring outside the team's arena.

Similar to Friday's incident prior to the Kings' game against the Hawks, demonstrators gathered outside Golden 1 Center to protest against police brutality and the shooting of Stephon Clark, blocking fans from entering the arena.

The protest occurred only hours after it was announced the two Baton Rouge officers who shot and killed Alton Sterling in 2016 will not be prosecuted.

The Kings made the decision to temporarily close the doors to the arena roughly half an hour before tip-off before later announcing entry will be closed permanently for the night and telling waiting fans outside Golden 1Center to return home.

"Public safety measures have been enacted and arena entrances remain closed. We kindly ask all guests to travel home safely at this time. Ticket holders unable to access tonight's game will receive refund information from the team soon. We apologize for the inconvenience," the team said in a statement posted to Twitter.

As a result of the lockdown, the Kings and Mavericks were forced to play in front of a sparse crowd that occupied a small fraction of the arena, which has a capacity of 17,608 people.

Protesters were captured on video yelling several chants, including "It's just a game!"

Several Kings fans, some who were denied entry on Tuesday, took to Twitter to air their frustrations.

"@SacramentoKings As a season ticket holder I have to state my frustrations with ownership. Did you think catering to protestors was the correct stance? Your fans/ticket holders deserve to participate in the product they have purchased," @KrisB732, wrote.

"@SacramentoKings People need to quit buying kings tickets. As a kings fan this is ridiculous and not one dollar will go to this team. They obviously care nothing about us fans," @danieljgaytan posted.

"@SacramentoKings As a daughter of a season ticket holder, I will strongly encourage my mother to NOT renew her season tickets! As a professional organization you should have been prepared! The fans that purchase your seats should be your first priority not to placate these trespassers! #byebye ," @ugomom wrote.

Following the first lockdown on Friday, Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé delivered a powerful message addressing the tragedy.

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

The Kings' game against the Celtics on Monday was played without incident. Both teams wore warmup shirts honoring Clark and joined together for a PSA promoting unity and change.

Clark, 22, was gunned down by police in his grandparents' backyard in South Sacramento last Thursday. Video of the shooting shows two police officers approaching the house before one yells "Show me your hands! Gun!" The two officers proceed to fire 20 shots in a span of seconds. The officers later said they mistook Clark's cell phone for a gun.