Enes Kanter Freedom is hoping to turn his activism, which made headlines during his NBA career, into a career in politics.
During an episode of “Mornings with Maria” on Fox Business, Kanter Freedom announced that while he wasn’t actively fundraising, he is interested in running for office and has discussed the possibility with those close to him.
Throughout his NBA career, Kanter Freedom established his interest in activism by writing messages on his shoes, such as “Free Tibet” and “No Beijing 2022.” He has also openly criticized the NBA’s relationship with China, as well as select players.
He continued his human rights activism post his NBA career, notably attending a press conference in 2022 with Canadian Senator Leo Housakos and Canadian MP Garnett Genius. In the conference, Kanter Freedom spoke of the Uyghurs in China, after which calls were made to the Canadian government to halt importation of forced-labor goods from China.
Kanter Freedom remains dedicated to spreading awareness regarding Uyghurs and China. Maria Bartiromo, host of “Mornings with Maria,” asked why he put his entire career on the line to speak out.
“Unfortunately, none of my colleagues were willing to go out there and speak the truth. While we are talking right now, there is a genocide happening,” Kanter Freedom said. “There are millions of people in concentration camps getting tortured and raped every day.”
Pinpointing what he viewed as a financial motive to silence, Kanter Freedom recounted the responses he received when he attempted to rally support from his teammates in bringing awareness to human rights violations.
“They said, ‘We have shoe deals,’” Kanter Freedom recounted. “’We have endorsement deals, and we have Jersey sales.’”
According to Alarabiya News, Kanter Freedom recently met with over 125 members of Congress with the goal of encouraging President Joe Biden to impose sanctions on Turkey’s President Recap Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey recently issued a warrant for Kanter Freedom’s arrest after his public criticism of Turkey’s government leaders.
The Uyghur population of China is a primarily Muslim group that resides in Xinjiang. Culturally separated and speaking a unique language, Uyghur residents have been subjected to so-called “re-education camps.” International experts have estimated as many as 1.8 million Uyghurs are being held by China in such camps.