NBA Rumor: Kanter-China Beef

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Adam Silver says NBA has not blackballed Enes Kanter Freedom

Adam Silver, the commissioner of the N.B.A., said in an interview that the league’s position on China had not changed. He also denied that the league had blackballed Freedom, saying that comparisons to Kaepernick were “completely unfounded and unfair.” “We spoke directly about his activities this season,” Silver said, “and I made it absolutely clear to him that it was completely within his right to speak out on issues that he was passionate about.”

He also said the N.B.A. players’ union separately tried to get him to stop wearing the shoes. “Instead of advocating on my behalf, I have encountered the union telling me I need to shut up and stop talking about the human rights violations in China,” Freedom said to The New York Times. Freedom’s story is difficult to corroborate because he would not disclose the names of his antagonists. The union would not comment on the specifics, but said in a statement that it supported Freedom and other players’ speaking out on important issues.

Enes Kanter Freedom says he was threatened with an NBA ban

Amid COVID and the social-justice protests of 2020, the league had encouraged self-expression, and NBA players had written various messages on their shoes in Sharpie: black lives matter, say their names, wash your hands. Kanter, who spoke at a Black Lives Matter rally in Boston, was thrilled with the players’ new social awareness. But now two officials were pleading with him to change his shoes. Kanter was preparing for his U.S. citizenship test, and he reminded them of his First Amendment rights. “I don’t care if I’m fined,” he said. “Not fined,” one of them said. “Banned.” Kanter refused. “Go tell your boss I’m not taking my shoes off.” Their boss was the NBA’s commissioner, Adam Silver.

A senior official with the National Basketball Players Association, Kanter’s own union, kept calling and asking him not to wear anti-China shoes. “I talked about Turkey 10 years, not one phone call,” Kanter told me. “I talked about China one day, I’m getting phone calls every hour.” He told the union rep not to call again. When Kanter reached Adam Silver, they spoke for half an hour. Silver told him that he was free to say whatever he wanted with his shoes; nonetheless, at the end of the conversation, according to Kanter, Silver remarked, “Everyone knows it’s business.” Kanter took this to mean: You’re free to talk about China, but you, your team, and the NBA might face consequences.

Yao Ming recently invited Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter Freedom to China in an attempt to change the latter’s tune about the Asian powerhouse. Freedom, who has been a vocal critic of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, did not waste much time responding to the former Houston Rockets center’s offer. Enes Kanter: Just yesterday, I saw on the news that former NBA player Yao Ming invited me to China. I want to be very clear. I have nothing against Chinese people. My problem is with the cultish Chinese Communist Party and the brutal dictator, Xi Jinping. Well, I wanna say thank you for your kind offer. And yes, I accept your invite. I will like to come to China this summer and see everything with my own eyes. But on this trip, will we be able to visit the Uyghur slave labor camps? Or visit the innocent women being tortured, raped, and abused?

Enes Kanter Freedom: If you want another contract, you have to keep your mouth shut

“He said, ‘I have so much things that I want to say, but I cannot because these teams got us,’” Kanter Freedom said. “If you want another contract, if you want more endorsement deals, if you want other companies to work with you, you have to keep your mouth shut. You cannot criticize the league, the companies, Nike, or whoever – the players or superstars.”

Outspoken NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom, who has frequently criticized LeBron James for refusing to speak out against the human rights violations in China, claims a teammate of the Lakers superstar encouraged him to keep it up. “One of the teammates that LeBron had came up to me and said, ‘Dude, keep doing what you’re doing. What you’re doing is right. Don’t give up,’” Kanter Freedom said on “The Will Cain Podcast” on Fox News Radio. “I was very shocked. I thought he was gonna be like, ‘Dude stop talking,’” Kanter Freedom added. “He’s going to try to defend LeBron, right? He’s like, ‘Dude, do not stop.’”

Enes Kanter Freedom: “I remember doing a basketball camp and I was signing autographs for kids. And while I was signing, one of the parents turned around and said, ‘How can you call yourself a human rights activist when your Muslim brothers and sisters are in pretty much genocide in China. And you’re still using your platform and focusing on only one region?’ And I was shocked. I turned back to that parent and said, ‘I’m going to get back to you. I promise.’ And I started to learn about China using their power to abuse many countries around — like Tibetan, even Mongolians, Taiwanese people, Hong Kongers and stuff.

Enes Kanter: NBA players telling me to call out the hypocrisies of LeBron

Enes Kanter Freedom: “Whenever I talk about it was never about Black or white athletes, or red or purple athletes. It was never about a color. I even had a conversation with many of my teammates, and a thing people don’t understand is that many of the Black athletes in the league are telling me to call out these people and [those] people. Not many people know that. They are the ones telling me to call out the hypocrisies of LeBron James, the hypocrisies of Michael Jordan, but they are the ones actually sending me talking points about you can’t say this, you can’t say that. I remember having one conversation with one of them, and he’s like, ‘Listen, these teams got us. We cannot talk, but you’re talking and you’re already out there, so you might as well just say this and say that.’ I don’t follow them blindly. I actually do research and if I believe it, I’ll go out there and say it. So, not many people know about it, but many Black athletes in the league are the ones reaching out to me saying you should talk about this and that.”

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.”

“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.”

Enes Kanter on China stance: 'NBA made me do this'

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.”

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

China's Tencent drops Celtics game following Enes Kanter's Free Tibet stance

The Boston Celtics are facing blowback in China after center Enes Kanter posted a video voicing his support for Tibetan independence. The reaction was swift. Chinese video-streaming giant Tencent cut the live broadcast of Wednesday’s NBA game between the Celtics and the New York Knicks. On Thursday, Chinese social media was filled with a flood of angry fans calling for a boycott.
7 months ago via SCMP

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.
7 months ago via SCMP

“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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