Pro Basketball Player: NBA Silenced Me about China
NBA star Enes Kanter Freedom said the National Basketball Association tried to silence him for using his official uniform attire to criticize communist China’s treatment of Tibet, when he wore the slogan “Free Tibet” on his sneakers.
“There [were] two gentlemen came from the NBA [who] said, ‘Take those shoes off.’ I’m like, ‘Excuse me?’ He said, ‘Yep, take those shoes off.’ I was like, ‘I’m not taking the shoes off.’ They’re like, ‘Listen, we are begging you to take those shoes off.’ And I asked him, ‘Am I breaking any rules?’ They said, ‘No.’ … And after that I was like, ‘Go tell your boss, I don’t care if I get banned or fined. I’m not taking the shoes off.’ You know? And that game, I played zero minutes,’” Freedom told Megyn Kelly on SiriusXM’s “The Megyn Kelly Show.”
Freedom said he first began to speak out against communist China’s human rights abuses against the people in Tibet and the Uyghurs because “it broke my heart.”
Freedom has grown increasingly open about his opposition to authoritarianism. In 2019, he refused to play in a Knicks game in London after Turkish prosecutors tried to get an international warrant for his arrest after they claimed he was in a terrorist organization. Freedom’s repeated comments denouncing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for violating human rights have prompted at least nine arrest warrants from Turkey, which canceled his passport in 2017. . . .
Despite the pushback he receives from foreign governments, the NBA, and even fellow athletes such as LeBron James, Freedom said he will continue to speak out.
(Excerpt from The Federalist. Photo Credit: @EnesFreedom.)
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