Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter in recent days has publicly condemned the Chinese Communist Party for their enslavement and oppression of Uyghur Muslims, calling Chinese President Xi Jinping a “brutal dictator” and urging the Chinese government to “stop the genocide.”
But on Monday, the Turkish basketball star and progressive activist set his aim on those he claims are profiting off the slave labor — such as global sports brand Nike as well as NBA legends Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
What did he say?
In a video posted to his various social media accounts, Kanter lambasted Nike CEO Phil Knight for failing to speak up about the atrocities in China.
“Dear Nike, your company says that you’re making a positive impact in our communities,” Kanter began. “And that is true. Yes, you are. Here, in the United States, Nike stands with Black Lives Matter, Nike stands with Stop Asian Hate, Nike stands with the Latino community, and Nike stands with the LGBTQ community. And Nike remains vocal about injustice here in America.”
“But when it comes to China, Nike remains silent,” he continued. “You do not address police brutality in China, you do not speak about discrimination against the LGBTQ community, you do not say a word about the oppression of minorities in China. You are scared to speak up.”
The Celtics star then went on to argue that Nike’s products are produced using forced labor and that, in fact, “almost the entire apparel and footwear industry is tainted by Uyghur forced labor.”
“Who makes your shoes in China? Do you even know? There are so many forced labor factories in China,” Kanter said, referring to the situation as “modern-day slavery.”
“Many well-known global brands are implicated,” he continued. “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 receipts to prove it.”
Nike has maintained that it “does not source products from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and [has confirmed with] contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region.” But Kanter is not convinced.
Kanter ended his video by inviting Knight, Jordan, and James to take a trip with him to China to see the slave labor camps for themselves.
“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,” he said. “To the owner of Nike — Phil Knight — I have a message for you. How about I book plane tickets 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. LeBron James and Michael Jordan, you guys are welcome to come too. Nike must be a participant in this. Stop the hypocrisy. Stop the modern-day slavery now.”
Earlier in the video, the Celtics center didn’t mince words when it came to explaining the horrors of the situation.
“Don’t forget, every time you put those shoes on your feet, or you put that T-shirt on your back, there are some many tears and so much oppression, and so much blood behind it all,” he argued.
Following Kanter’s first video, in which he voiced support for Tibetan independence, Chinese authorities wiped future Celtics games from their TV schedule and erased past replays.
In the video, Kanter said, “My message to the Chinese government is ‘Free Tibet.’ Tibet belongs to Tibetans. I am here to add my voice and speak out about what is happening in Tibet. Under the Chinese government’s brutal rule, Tibetan people’s basic rights and freedoms are nonexistent.”
“They are not allowed to study and learn their language and culture freely,” he went on to say. “They are not allowed to travel freely, they are not allowed to access information freely, Tibetan people are not even allowed to worship freely.”
(H/T: The Daily Wire)