Sports | November 30, 2021 1:55 pm

In First Move as American Citizen, NBA’s Enes Kanter Freedom Says People Should Stop Criticizing US Government

The 29-year-old Turkish American joined Tucker Carlson on Fox News on Monday

Enes Kanter of the Boston Celtics before a game against the Washington Wizards
Enes Kanter of the Boston Celtics before a game against the Washington Wizards.
Omar Rawlings/Getty

If Enes Kanter Freedom wants people around the world to take him seriously as an advocate for human rights and political freedom, he might be wise to stick his customized size-16 sneakers in his mouth.

Joining Tucker Carlson on Fox News on Monday after becoming an American citizen and officially changing his last name to Freedom earlier in the day, the 29-year-old Swiss-born Turkish American spoke out against citizens criticizing the U.S. government.

Kanter Freedom — who has been vocal about his opinions on China with regard to human rights issues in Tibet and Hong Kong, wants countries around the world to boycott the Beijing Olympics and is no longer safe in Turkey due to his political opposition against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — seemed to speak out against the right to free speech while talking out of both sides of his mouth during his Fox News appearance.

“It seems like people who move here from countries that are not free appreciate the freedoms here much more than a lot of us who grew up with those freedoms. Have you noticed that?” he said. “You know, I’m just gonna say this and I’m gonna be honest. People should feel really blessed and lucky to be in America. Because, they love to criticize [the U.S.], but when you live in a country like Turkey or, you know, China, or somewhere else, you will appreciate the freedoms you have here. So I feel like they should just, please — they should just keep their mouth shut and stop criticizing the greatest nation in the world and they should focus on, you know, their freedoms and their human rights and their democracy.”

Currently a member of the Boston Celtics, Kanter Freedom has tried to make waves by calling out LeBron James for not speaking out against offenses in China but championing the Black Lives Matter in the U.S. It didn’t work as he didn’t even approach James when the Lakers played the Celtics earlier this month after the two passed in a hallway.

Ahead of the rematch between the Celts and Lakers on December 7 in Los Angeles, Kanter Freedom said he would “love to sit down and talk to” James about his relationship with Nike and the brand’s ties to China.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a very uncomfortable conversation for him,” Kanter Freedom told MassLive. “I don’t know if he is going to want that. I will make it really comfortable for him. I don’t know if he’s educated enough, but I’m here to educate him and I’m here to help him because it’s not about money. It’s about morals, principles and values; it’s about what you stand for. There are way bigger things than money. … But I feel like it’s definitely time for athletes to stand up for things that they believe in.”

As long as those things don’t involve criticizing Kanter Freedom’s country, something he was willing to do in Turkey but is apparently staunchly against in the United States.