NBA rumors: Enes Freedom: 'Two gentlemen from the NBA begged me to take the shoes off'

“Before the game at Madison Square Garden, two gentlemen from the NBA begged me to take the shoes off,” said Kanter. “I was confused. I was getting ready for my citizenship test and I knew that the First Amendment is freedom of speech. Them telling me to take my shoes off went against my First Amendment rights. I said I would not take them off. I didn’t care if I got banned or fined. During halftime I received a text message from my manager: All the Celtics games were suddenly banned in China. It took one half of a Celtics game, with me wearing these shoes, on the bench, for the games to get banned.”

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“They asked me if I would wear those shoes again and I promised not to — but I wore ‘Free Uyghur,’” he said, referring to the minority Muslim ethnic group that has reportedly suffered human rights abuses in China. “The National Basketball Players Association called me and harassed me. I told them to stop calling and texting me.”
“Two years ago, I tweeted that Hong Kong should be free.” Then “Le Bron said he is not educated enough about the situation [to comment on it] and that what I tweeted hurt the league. It’s sad that these players are social justice warriors, but, when it comes to China, they are scared to say anything. [Professional wrestler] John Cena and other celebrities, they are so worried about the business side of it. I tell people to stand up for what’s right. Your values are more important than any money you can ever make from China.”
Kanter told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview that despite speaking out on issues such as Black Lives Matter, the NBA has stayed silent on China -- highlighting its struggle in balancing player activism with the lucrative Chinese market. "NBA made me do this," Kanter said. "Because every time when one of the NBA teams or the commissioner comes out to speak, they say we are encouraging players to talk about whatever they want to talk about. "We are giving freedom to our players to talk about all the injustices happening around the world, all the human rights abuses around the world. So, they gave me this right."
Kanter says he sat down privately with NBA officials and commissioner Adam Silver, who says Silver has backed Kanter's right to freedom of speech. The Celtics center says he has no intention of breaking NBA rules but is concerned as to why the NBA has yet to release a public statement on the issue. "If they were really supporting me, they would have put something out there. They would have put out some kind of statement," he said. "People think I do politics, I don't do politics. I do human rights."
Andrew Bogut: I support someone speaking out that can lose ALOT. Regardless of if I agree or disagree. Waiting for other players/coaches/gms to make comments in support of Enes and #Equality
Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter continued his assault on China with his fourth pair of shoes designed by Shanghai-born, Australia-based dissident cartoonist Badiucao. During his team’s game against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night in North Carolina, he wore a pair of white trainers adorned with the words “modern day slaves”, and once again posted an accompanying video message on his social media accounts.
“My conversation with Enes was real short and sweet, and that is we’re always going to support any of our players and their right to freedom of speech and expression. And I think in my experience with the Celtics and the NBA, that’s the way it’s been and that’s the way it’ll continue to be,” Stevens told The Boston Globe.
Enes Kanter: Heartless Dictator of China, XI JINPING and the Communist Party of China. I am calling you out in front of the whole world. Close down the SLAVE labor camps and free the UYGHUR people! Stop the GENOCIDE, now! #FreeUyghurs
Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter slammed Chinese President Xi Jinping on social media before wearing shoes emblazoned with the slogan “Free Tibet” during his team’s NBA game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night. The shoes were made by Shanghai-born, Australia-based dissident cartoonist Badiucao, who had a show in Hong Kong cancelled in 2018, and were worn by Kanter while he was on the bench during the season-opening game in New York.
“My message to the Chinese government is free Tibet,” he said in a video posted on his various social media accounts. “Tibet belongs to Tibetans, I am here to add my voice and speak out against what is happening in Tibet under the Chinese government’s brutal rule.” Kanter called Xi a “brutal dictator” in the video’s accompanying caption and criticised the Chinese government’s actions in Tibet before saying he could no longer “stay silent” on the issue.
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