The NBA may have another Daryl morey situation in his hands – the league’s Chinese broadcast partner removed Boston Celtics games from their site after Enes Kanter publicly denounced the president Xi Jinping as a “brutal dictator” and posted a pro-Tibet video.
Kanter shared a nearly 3-minute long speech on the ongoing âcultural genocideâ in Tibetâ¦ saying, âUnder the brutal Chinese government regime, the basic rights and freedoms of the Tibetan people are non-existent.
âThey are not allowed to study and learn their language and culture freely. They are not allowed to travel freely. They are not allowed to freely access information. The Tibetan people are not even allowed to worship freely. “
@EnesKanter / Twitter
Shortly after Kanter posted his video, TenCent – the Chinese site for watching the NBA – pulled Celtics reruns and highlights from the web … and Boston’s upcoming games are no longer listed on the schedule.
FYI, Tencent has reportedly signed a $ 1.5 billion contract to broadcast NBA games for 5 years. The Chinese market is extremely important to the NBA as basketball is very popular among the country’s 1.44 billion people.
The situation is familiar to the backlash the league faced after Morey (who was general manager of the Houston Rockets at the time) tweeted “fight for freedom, stay with Hong Kong” in 2019.
The tweet created a ton of backlash in China … with the huge Chinese e-commerce site Taobao pulling all the merchandise from the Rockets and CCTV shoots NBA games of the broadcast.
Note – now that Morey is the general manager of Philadelphia, the Sixers games are also not available to stream on Tencent.
More than 150 Tibetans have burned themselves alive !! – hoping that such an act would raise awareness in Tibet.
Kanter – who was a frank activist throughout his career – took his message a step further by wearing “Free Tibet” sneakers during the Celtics vs Knicks game on Wednesday … which were designed by a Chinese-Aussian artist Badiucao.
It will be interesting to see how commish Adam Silver – and NBA superstars – are reacting to the comments.