Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter recently went on Twitter to point out the hypocrisy of Nike which is profiting off slave labor in China.
The Boston Celtics signed Enes Kanter to their roster this offseason to add depth in the big men department, along with other signings like veteran Al Horford and Dennis Schroder.
However, the Celtics front office did not expect him to have a controversial geopolitical stand in the very first week of the NBA 2021-22 season. A stand that could eventually hurt the league’s relationship with China, one of its biggest markets. Now, he is going after one of the NBA’s biggest sponsors in Nike.
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 25, 2021
The big man points out the huge injustices they ignore in China because it makes them rich. He goes on to say –
“Did you know that almost the entire apparel and footwear industry is tainted by Uyghur forced labor? Many well-known global brands are implicated, and yes, that includes one of the NBA’s biggest sponsors, Nike.”
“Nike claims that they do not allow any forced labor in their supply chains. Yet they don’t have the receipt to prove it! They have not publicly committed to steps outline by the coalition to end Uyghur forced labor.”
The 29-year-old then proceeds to call out Nike –
“Nike likes to say, ‘just do it. Well, what are you doing about the slave labor that makes your shoes? That slave labor that makes you rich?”
“To the owner of Nike, Phil Knight, I have a message for you. How about I book a plane ticket for us. Let’s fly to China together. We can try to visit these slave labor camps and you can see with your own eyes”.
“Stop with hypocrisy. Stop with modern-day slavery, now.”
We all know both the NBA and Nike won’t love these comments from Kanter. Above all, he deserves some sort of applause for speaking his mind.
What could this mean for Enes Kanter and the league?
No sports league in history has profited as greatly off its business relationship with China as the modern NBA. The league’s relationship with China has been a source of constant scrutiny from fans and both sides of the political aisle.
Just recently, Enes Kanter made comments on Chinese President Xi Jinping being a ‘brutal dictator’. This resulted in a ban of all Boston Celtics games from being televised in China.
Dear Brutal Dictator XI JINPING and the Chinese Government
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 20, 2021
Just two years ago, China cut ties with the NBA over social media comments made by Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey in support of Hong Kong protesters. Moreover, there were reports that the league ”lost of hundreds of millions” due to the China conflict.
As a result, the league wouldn’t want this to happen again. The league would go to any extent to keep China happy, even if that means not allowing Kanter to play in the NBA. There’s a real chance if the Chinese government applied enough pressure, teams wouldn’t sign him. Yet, he still speaks up for the voiceless.
In conclusion, one can only applaud Kanter for sticking his neck out in the firing line and standing for what he believes in.