Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom has used his platform and voice in order to speak out against human rights abuses across the world, particularly against crimes committed by Communist China.
Kanter Freedom has been particularly outspoken on the treatment of the Uyghur Muslims, calling on Chinese President Xi Jinping to “stop the genocide” of the Uyghur people. And while the NBA has not attempted to stop Kanter Freedom from speaking out against China, they haven’t exactly hopped aboard his campaign. In fact, one NBA owner is on record saying that “nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs.”
Chamath Palihapitiya — part-time owner of the Golden State Warriors — joined the “All-In Podcast” on Sunday, and his comments on the plight of the Uyghur people drew outrage on social media.
“Every time I say that I care about the Uyghurs, I’m really just lying if I don’t really care. And so, I’d rather not lie to you and tell you the truth, it’s not a priority for me,” Palihapitiya said.
Palihapitiya went on to say that he cares about climate change, the healthcare system in the United States, and about the incarceration rate of “black and brown men” in the U.S.
Kanter Freedom responded to the comments on Twitter, saying that Palihapitiya is one who would “sell their soul for money & business.”
“When [NBA] says we stand for justice, don’t forget there are those who sell their soul for money & business like [Chamath Palihapitiya] the owner of [Warriors], who says ‘Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs,’” Kanter Freedom wrote.
“When genocides happen, it is people like this that let it happen. Shame!” he added.
When @NBA says we stand for justice, don’t forget there are those who sell their soul for money & business like @chamath the owner of @warriors,
who says “Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs”
When genocides happen, it is people
like this that let it happen
— Enes Kanter FREEDOM (@EnesFreedom) January 17, 2022
On Monday, Palihapitiya posted a statement to social media saying his comments “lacked empathy.”
“In re-listening to this week’s podcast, I recognize that I came across as lacking empathy,” Palihapitiya said. “As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own set of human rights issues so this is something that is very much a part of my lived experience. To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States, or elsewhere. Full stop.”
The Golden State Warriors organization distanced themselves from Palihapitiya on Monday, saying he was a “limited investor.”
“As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization,” Golden State said in a statement.
In October, Kanter Freedom began using his platform to advocate for human rights across the globe by calling on the Chinese government to “Free Tibet” and by criticizing the communist government’s “brutal rule.”
What followed was the Chinese streaming service Tencent blacking out all Celtics games on the platform, as well as removing replays of previous Celtics games. But the response from China didn’t deter Kanter Freedom, as he continued to post videos and messages to his social media accounts calling out the Chinese government for their record of human rights abuses.
Kanter Freedom officially became a U.S. citizen on November 29, 2021.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].