NBA ‘begged’ Enes Freedom to take off shoes criticizing China
Boston Celtics big man Enes Freedom, formerly known as Enes Kanter, is one of the only NBA players to speak out against Chinese “brutal dictator” Xi Jinping and continued human rights violations in the country . His willingness to speak out when so many of his peers have remained silent has earned him much fanfare across the country.
But not everyone is happy with his activism, including the NBA, which has a close partnership with China. Members of the association are apparently so angry with Freedom that they even attacked his choice of shoes.
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“Before the game at Madison Square Garden, two NBA gentlemen begged me to take off the shoes,” Freedom told the New York Post of his decision in November to wear custom shoes marked “Free Tibet”.
Freedom, who grew up in Turkey and officially became a U.S. citizen late last month, refused to comply with the request, citing his citizenship notes which suggest he did not need one.
âI was confused. I was getting ready for my citizenship test and I knew the First Amendment was free speech. They were telling me to take off my shoes violated my First Amendment rights. I said I wouldn’t take them off. I didn’t care if I got banned or fined, “Freedom said The post office. âDuring half time I got a text from my manager: All Celtics games were suddenly banned in China. It took half of a Celtics game, with me wearing these shoes, on the bench , so that matches are banned. “
According to The Post, the NBA denies that one of its employees asked Freedom to take off his sneakers, which is unusual because the NBA is generally so willing to talk about anything and everything about China.
“They asked me if I would wear these shoes again and I promised not to – but I was wearing ‘Free Uyghur’,” Freedom told the New York Post, referring to a minority Muslim group that has suffered horrific human rights violations in China. “The National Basketball Players Association called me and harassed me. I told them to stop calling and texting me.”
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Despite the NBA’s efforts to silence Freedom’s voice, he won’t oblige them, telling The Post, “Now I’m on a big stage and there are so many dictators destroying people. God has me. given this platform, and I have to use it for the good fight. “
And now the NBA is nervously waiting for the other shoe to drop.