Should NBA players be able to speak out about human rights?

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For a whole year professional sports was mobilized against the government of the United States. I think it was actually a partisan thing — I think it was more anti-Trump than anti-America.

The whole idea of taking a knee was a way of defying the national anthem, of disparaging it, protesting it, of a passive-aggressive war against anyone in the stands, or anyone watching at home on TV, who feels patriotic. It was the teams versus the fans. It was stupid, but it was about politics and it was about dislodging Trump.

But it was a bit odd — because while they never ran out of disparaging things to say about America, they sure seemed quiet about the NBA’s new home — Communist China.

I mean, there’s a lot of money over there, right? Just shut up and get educated, right?

Enes Kanter was born in Switzerland to a Turkish mom and dad; Smart man — runs in the family — his dad is a doctor and university professor, his mom is a nurse. Smart guy, almost seven feet tall, good athlete, moved to America, played for a bunch of teams, Utah Jazz, New York Knicks, and he’s with the Boston Celtics now.

He’s 29.

Well, would you look at this:

I like that. He sounded reasonable, I think. He sounded well-informed. I’m not going to make him my go-to scholar on the subject, but he was earnest. I think it was more substantive than just taking a knee — literally whatever that means.

Enes Kanter made a tweet that sounds thoughtful, even if you don’t agree with it.

And China is mad! Very mad!

Celtics blacked out in China after Kanter's Tibet comments
League missed about $400M US during last season's fallout with China

Chinese broadcaster and NBA partner Tencent is not showing current or archived Boston Celtics games on its platforms, in apparent response to comments that Celtics centre Enes Kanter made to advocate Tibetan independence.

This young lad has more fight in him than, oh, say, the entire U.S. foreign affairs establishment! And he’s just getting started!

Here, let me play the the latest from this young Turk:

It’s about being Muslim, and other Muslims in sport, and real islamophobia — concentration camps and labour camps, and eradicating Uyghur Muslim culture and identity and history.

I like this guy. I like the fact that he hasn’t backed down — he’s doubled down.

What will they do to him? He’s costing his fellow athletes millions. He’s going to cost the league billions.

But hey. As Nike told us, when they were backing an American basher, believe in something, even if it costs you everything. Right?

GUEST: Independent Ontario MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston Randy Hillier (@RandyHillier on Twitter) on his recent controversial social media post.

FINALLY: Your messages to me!

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