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Enes Kanter Slams Professional Sports Leagues For Not Speaking Out On China: ‘They’re Scared’

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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 27: Enes Kanter #13 of the Boston Celtics reacts before the game against the Washington Wizards at TD Garden on October 27, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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The Boston Celtic’s Enes Kanter slammed professional sports leagues and other high profile individuals during a Fox News interview on Tuesday for refusing to speak out about the atrocities taking place inside of communist China, saying that they are “scared” and they only care about money.

Kanter was interviewed by Martha MacCallum over a piece that he had published in The Wall Street Journal and a tweet that accompanied it where he weighed in on a high-profile Chinese tennis player that has gone missing at times since speaking out about an alleged sexual assault perpetrated by a high-ranking Chinese official.

“Move the Olympics for Peng Shuai’s Sake!!!” Kanter said. “It’s time for us to WAKE UP and SPEAK UP!! All the gold medals in the WORLD aren’t worth selling your morals, values and your principles.”

When asked by MacCallum if he felt like he was alone in his constant speaking out against China, Kanter said, “I mean, someone had to do it.”

“You know, you see, there’s so many athletes, so many actors, you know, so many singers and rappers out there,” Kanter said. “They’re scared. They’re scared to say a word because they care too much about their money. They care too much about their endorsement deals. They care too much about what the teams that they play for are going to say. But, you know, they should know one thing: It should be morals and principles over money. It shouldn’t be the opposite way.”

“And it’s so important, especially athletes, because there are so many young generation out there are watching us and idolizing us,” he continued. “So, if we don’t stand up against this dictatorships who will? So, to me it was really important. And I do feel alone, yes, because so many, you know, people out there are scared to say a word because they care too much about the business side of it. But to me, human rights are way more important than everything you can offer me.”

Kanter also spoke out against the genocide that China is committing in Xinjiang against religious minorities and China’s other tyrannical actions, saying that the communist nation does not represent the Olympic’s core values.

“They are a brutal dictatorship and they engage in censorship, they threaten the freedoms, and they don’t respect human rights, and they hide the truth,” he said. “And while we speaking right now, Martha, there is a genocide happening. There are millions of people in concentration camps … they’re getting tortured, and they’re getting gang raped every day.”

Kanter said that “organizations like NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB” should take note of how the Women’s Tennis Association is standing up to China because “people’s lives … is way more important than business side of it.”

“So, I feel like we should definitely hold th[ese] organizations accountable, especially when they call themselves a social justice organizations,” he added. “But when, if it affects their money, if it affects their pocket, and their business, they are telling us to stay remain silent, but I feel like we have a huge platform and we need to use this platform.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS HOST: My next guest tweeted, quote, ‘Move the Olympics for Peng Shuai’s sake!!! It’s time for us to WAKE UP and SPEAK UP!! All the gold medals in the WORLD aren’t worth selling your morals, values and your principles.’ Boston Celtics Center Enes Kanter joins me now. Enes, thank you very much. It’s great to have you with us today. And you’ve shown so much courage in speaking out about this and I loved how in the piece that you wrote in The Wall Street Journal, you cited what’s possible when athletes speak out, citing Bill Russell stood up against racial injustice, Muhammad Ali against the Vietnam War, Arthur Ashe against apartheid in South Africa. Why do you think, do you feel like you’re alone when you’re, you know, putting all of these things on your sneakers and protesting China?

ENES KANTER, BOSTON CELTICS: I mean, someone had to do it. You know, you see, there’s so many athletes, so many actors, you know, so many singers and rappers out there. They’re scared. They’re scared to say a word because they care too much about their money. They care too much about their endorsement deals. They care too much about what the teams that they play for are going to say. But, you know, they should know one thing: It should be morals and principles over money. It shouldn’t be the opposite way. Because people’s lives depends on this. And it’s so important, especially athletes, because there are so many young generation out there are watching us and idolizing us. So, if we don’t stand up against this dictatorships who will? So, to me it was really important. And I do feel alone, yes, because so many, you know, people out there are scared to say a word because they care too much about the business side of it. But to me, human rights are way more important than everything you can offer me.

MACCALLUM: Well, good for, you’re setting such an important example. And I want to play a soundbite from the IOC vice president John Coates, who seems to have trouble with this issue. He says we can’t do anything about what’s going on in China, I mean, we’re the International Olympic Committee. Go ahead watch this. Oh, this full-screen quote, sorry, ‘We have no ability to go into a country and tell them what to do. All we can do is award the Olympics to a country under conditions set out in the host contract.” What would you say to him about what he should do about this?

KANTER: I mean, first of all, the Chinese Communist Party does not represent the Olympic core values of excellence, of respect or friendship, and they are a brutal dictatorship and they engage in censorship, they threaten the freedoms, and they don’t respect human rights, and they hide the truth. And while we speaking right now, Martha, there is a genocide happening. There are millions of people in concentration camps, which I speak to many of them in America, you know, they’re getting tortured, and they’re getting gang raped every day. So, you’re thinking about putting a put an Olympic Games in a country like this, it is unacceptable. You know, it’s a shame that International Olympic Committee are doing this, but I feel like we should definitely say stand up to this organizations, and definitely should push to move the games as somewhere else.

MACCALLUM: I mean the Tennis Association’s getting some praise for, you know, really pushing back on this issue. They’re probably the first people who’ve kind done that after you. But the NBA has a terrible record of this. So, what is it like for you in your sport when you’re speaking out and, you know, people have been fired or suspended from their jobs for even suggesting that we should support Taiwan or things along those lines?

KANTER: You know, I applaud Women’s Tennis Association. What a brave organization. I feel like every organization in the world, you know, especially in America, organizations like NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, MLB should take notes because they care about their players more than the business and money. And when I saw the comment WTA, it gave me so much hope and motivation because this is the start. This is the start when people start waking up. But I think, you know, the one important thing is, we, listen, people’s lives … is way more important than business side of it. So, I feel like we should definitely hold th[ese] organizations accountable, especially when they call themselves a social justice organizations. But when, if it affects their money, if it affects their pocket, and their business, they are telling us to stay remain silent, but I feel like we have a huge platform and we need to use this platform.

MACCALLUM: Well there are a lot of questions about this video that Peng Shuai put out and whether or not she is okay. But one thing we know is that she’s an incredibly courageous young woman because what she did speaking out was very, very, very risky in China, that she’s calling out this man who has served in the government in high levels so we’re going to watch this. Thank you very much for what you do and for putting this front and center. He wears sneakers that say, ‘Xi is a control freak,’ and others stuff on the side. We’ve seen a lot on the basketball courts and people speaking their minds about things but it’s pretty refreshing to see that you’re so willing to take such a strong stand on this. Thank you so much, Enes, it’s great to talk to you. I hope you’ll come back soon.

KANTER: Thank you, Martha.

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