NBA Star Threatened with Ban for Criticizing Communist China
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter ordered to stop or be banned from playing
Basketball star Enes Kanter has allegedly been threatened with a ban from NBA officials over his criticism of Communist China's slave labor practices.
The Boston Celtics center has become increasingly outspoken against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the dictatorship's influence over American sports leagues.
During games, Kanter has been wearing shoes decorated with slogans to highlight China's forced labor camps.
Kanter revealed during an interview on CNN that two unnamed NBA officials demanded he take off his Free Tibet shoes prior to a game.
He said they later implied he might be banned for the move, despite not breaching any NBA policies.
The Celtics player asked if he was breaking any rules, and the officials admitted he was not.
He added the officials later apologized after he refused to remove them.
Furthermore, he revealed that NBA commissioner Adam Silver has also spoken to him about the situation.
.@EnesKanter says that he doesn't care about the cost that he may face from criticizing China. But are the NBA concerned? Kanter told me he has discussed it with commissioner Adam Silver. "I told him... am I breaking any rules?"— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) November 10, 2021
"He said, no, you're not breaking any rules." pic.twitter.com/v2pDNklsGS
On Wednesday, Kanter excoriated both the NBA and Nike for not standing up to China over human rights abuses being perpetrated by the CCP.
During an appearance on PBS's "Amanpour & Company," Kanter questioned whether the NBA was actually on his side when it came to his decision to speak out against China's treatment of Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Uighurs.
He also accused Nike of telling "a total lie" in its claims that China was not using slave labor to produce its products.
Kanter, who spoke out specifically against China's treatment of Tibet in October, told host Christiane Amanpour that his decade-long criticism of his home country Turkey's authoritarian government garnered little attention from the NBA, while one day of speaking out against China brought him a phone call every two hours.
Amanpour asked Kanter why he continued to criticize Nike despite its claim that it followed all international labor standards in producing its products in China.
She noted the company didn't respond to her team's request for comment on potential violations of labor standards.
"Nike, obviously, is one of the biggest — the biggest sponsor for NBA," Kanter said.
"And two years ago when all the Black Lives Matter happened, Nike was one of the first companies out there, was standing with Black Lives Matter.
"Nike stands with Stop Asian Hate.
"Nike stands with LGBTQ community.
"Nike stands with Latino community.
"But when it comes to China, Nike remains silent because China is the big boss for Nike," he added.
"Obviously, they’re not going to be able to answer because they know what they’re doing wrong.
"They're one of the biggest hypocrite companies in the world."
Amanpour noted again that Nike publicly denied using slave labor in China.
"It’s [a] total lie," Kanter declared.
"Everyone in the world knows that there are so many slave labor camps over there in China and many other countries that Nike is profiting from," he said.
"So that was one of the biggest reasons that I put on my shoes, ‘Modern Day Slavery’ and ‘Hypocrite Nike,’ just because they're profiting from slave labor camps."
"It’s just disgusting to me to see all the Nike athletes standing up and calling themselves a social justice warrior and still can wear these items on their shoe, on their feet and on their back when on these items there is so much blood and sweat and oppression.
"And to me, if you’re a Nike athlete, to me, you’re a hypocrite," he added.