NBA player Enes Kanter of the Boston Celtics took to Twitter on Monday to call out Nike’s friendly relationship with the Chinese communist government, which is forcing Uyghurs – a Muslim minority in China – into slave labor camps. The basketball player demanded that Nike end the “modern day slavery.”
“Dear Nike, your company says that it is making a positive impact in our communities. 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,” Kanter said in a video posted to Twitter.
“You do not address police brutality in China. You do not speak about discrimination about the LGBTQ community. You do not say a word about the oppression of minorities in China,” he continued. “You are scared to speak up. Who makes your shoes in China? Do you even know? There are so many forced labor factories in China. For instance, Uyghur forced labor. A modern day slavery, and it’s happening right now in China.”
Kanter highlighted that Uyghurs are “currently detained, sold and assigned to work at forced labor camps, prisons and factories” throughout China.
“They are under constant surveillance with long working hours and poor living conditions. They are subject to political reeducation. They have no freedom of expression. No freedom of religion. And they are not even able to leave. Did you know that almost the entire apparel and footware 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,” Kanter said.
Kanter acknowledged that Nike has claimed they don’t allow forced labor into their supply chains, but he called out the company for not having “the receipt to prove it.”
“Don’t forget: every time you put those shoes on your feet or that t-shirt on your back, there are so many tears and so much oppression and so much blood behind it all,” Kanter continued. “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?”
Kanter ended his video by speaking directly to Nike’s owner, Phil Knight.
“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 it with your own eyes,” he said. “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.”