New York Knicks big man Enes Kanter spoke about the team decision to lock arms during the national anthem before a recent preseason game.
The organization released a statement on why they decided to lock arms, which you can read above.
Kanter was recently acquired in a trade that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Ian Begley provided a full quote from Kanter, who opened up about how he would have preferred to kneel rather than lock arms (via ESPN):
“We did it as a team. If it were me I would have taken the knee. But as a team you know, we stand together … In America, it’s freedom of religion, freedom of speech. Today, we protested peacefully out there. We didn’t do nothing crazy, whatever. I am going to pray for this country because I love this country and I hope things will get better and better every day.”
Even though Kanter was born in Switzerland and is a Turkish citizen, he has long considered the United States to be his home. This offseason, the 25-year-old NBA player was wanted for arrest in Turkey due to his political opinions.
The league, meanwhile, recently released a memo saying that players could face discipline if they did not stand for the national anthem.
Kanter is not the only player on the team who has spoken about the national anthem. Joakim Noah recently opened up about how the protests are about social injustices, not the flag itself.
New York made it clear they would choose to be unified during the anthem, but if it were fully up to Kanter, the action may have looked different.