Though the NBA has seemingly blackballed former Boston Celtics center Enes Freedom for speaking out against China, that hasn’t stopped him from dunking all over them.
On Sunday, Freedom, formerly Enes Kanter, pointed a finger at the NBA’s hypocrisy. The league supports Ukrainians, but has turned a blind eye to Uyghurs held in concentration camps in China and others around the world whose human rights have been violated.
“Hypocrites!” tweeted Freedom, atop a picture of coaches from his former team, Boston, wearing pins in support of Ukraine.
Who chooses whose lives are more important? https://t.co/NT8daMNB4e
— Enes FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) March 6, 2022
To be clear, Freedom has no issue with supporting Ukraine. In fact, he’s fully in favor of it, as he says in his tweet. However, he takes issue with the NBA swiftly backing Ukraine while remaining silent on other world issues that have lingered for much longer than the last two weeks.
“Hypocrites! I see Celtics coaching staff wearing Ukrainian flag pins, which I support,” said Freedom. “What about Syria, Afghanistan, Uyghurs, Hong Kong, Tibet, Taiwan.
“Why is it okay to speak up about human rights violations there but not in other countries? Is there not much profit from Russia?”
Freedom didn’t stop there. He also said that the NBA “begged” him to remove shoes that read “Free Tibet” late last year, when he was still a member of the Boston Celtics. Freedom refused. Not coincidentally, Celtics games were then banned in China.
Freedom has consistently used his platform to draw attention to the disgusting practices, including slave labor, sanctioned by Chinese leader Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. He even took part in an ad supporting free speech and free people that aired during the Olympics.
Through it all, the NBA has remained silent about the atrocities in China. Why? That’s easy – it’s all about the money. Estimates suggest that China provides anywhere from $200 million to $500 million in revenue to the NBA. The league looks the other way as long as the checks keep coming in.
Last spring, NBA Commissioner essentially admitted as much in an interview with TIME:
“A so-called boycott of China, taking into account legitimate criticisms of the Chinese system, won’t further the agenda of those who seek to bring about global change. Working with Chinese solely on NBA basketball has been a net plus for building relationships between two superpowers.”
Money. Money. Money.
In a follow up to his original tweet, Freedom asked the NBA: “How is it fair when I wore shoes to bring awareness about Human Rights violations around the world, @Celtics begged me to remove them and threatened to ban me, Celtics now wear Ukrainian flag pins.
“Who approved this @NBPA / @NBA? Who chooses whose lives are more important?”
He shouldn’t expect a response. The NBA’s clearly preoccupied with making pins and cashing checks. They clearly have no time for Freedom.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF