Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott sent a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday to seek a meeting to discuss the league’s involvement with Communist China.
The letter followed a discussion between Scott and Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter Freedom about China’s human rights abuses.
“Every freedom-loving nation must be strong in condemning Communist China’s attacks on freedom & democracy & holding it accountable for its crimes,” Scott said following their virtual meeting last month.
It was great to speak with @EnesKanter today about our fight against Communist China’s horrific human rights abuses & oppression. Every freedom-loving nation must be strong in condemning Communist China’s attacks on freedom & democracy & holding it accountable for its crimes. pic.twitter.com/5VXqTC26V7
— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) November 18, 2021
Scott’s letter furthered efforts to hold the NBA accountable with respect to China and its government.
“The NBA has done nothing to stand up to Communist China, and in some ways has taken actions that seem to have no purpose other than to please General Secretary Xi’s murderous and tyrannical Communist Chinese government,” Scott boldly stated in the letter.
“What I find most unsettling about the NBA’s inaction and silence on issues involving Communist China is that the league has a history of strong support for activism when it comes to social challenges. Both now and in the past, the NBA has stood by and unquestionably supported players who advocate for equality and justice, yet you have utterly failed to carry this practice forward when it comes to the gross injustice we are seeing in Communist China,” he added.
Scott also called out the commissioner regarding the league’s support of equality only when it is “politically convenient.”
“How can the NBA, in good conscience, claim to support equality and justice when you’re picking and choosing to do so based on political convenience?” the senator added.
Scott concluded his letter with a call for a meeting to further discuss the controversy.
“The NBA can be an immensely powerful force for good, both in the United States and across the world, and I hope to discuss these important matters with you. Thank you for your attention, and I look forward to scheduling a time for us to meet,” the senator wrote.
The Daily Wire reported in November that Kanter Freedom ripped the NBA during an interview with journalist Christiane Amanpour.
Amanpour asked Kanter if the NBA was concerned about his outspokenness regarding Communist China — citing the kerfuffle with Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and Hong Kong.
Kanter replied that he stands “for justice and freedom” no “matter who it’s for or against,” then offered a comparison between how he was treated for speaking out against Turkey versus how he is allegedly being treated when it comes to China.
.@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?”
“He said, no, you’re not breaking any rules.” pic.twitter.com/v2pDNklsGS
— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) November 10, 2021
“I have been talking about all the human rights violations and injustice [happening] in Turkey for 10 years, and I did not get one phone call. I talk about China one day … I was getting a phone call once every two hours,” the basketball player said.
Kanter Freedom then told Amanpour that when he first donned his “Free Tibet” sneakers on the court in Madison Square Garden, “two guys from the NBA” approached him and said that he needed to remove his shoes. When the officials allegedly told him that he wasn’t actually breaking any rules, Kanter kept his sneakers on, and the officials apparently later apologized.
“[I’m] getting ready for my citizenship test, and I’ve been studying really hard, and there’s 27 amendments, and my First Amendment is the greatest amendment, is the freedom of speech,” Kanter Freedom reportedly told the officials.
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