Unfortunate as they were last season, the Boston Celtics They could become one of the must-see teams of 2021-22. After a busy summer, the club suddenly finds itself with revitalized managers, a new coach, a restructured squad and stories in abundance. Above all, hope is what has returned to Massachusetts Bay.
It is a mix that is generating interest in the world of basketball. However, fans of the sport in at least one country will have a hard time seeing the Beantowners due to the unexpected consequences of Celtics man Enes Kanter’s comments.
As reported by New York Times on Thursday, the Celtics were pulled from the broadcast by Tencent, the NBA’s streaming partner in China. This occurred after the Kanter’s Facebook post criticizing President Xi Jinping and speaking in favor of a free Tibet.
Kanter Speaks Again
The 29-year-old Kanter, who has also played for the Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers, is used to speaking out against injustice. His public complaint against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has resulted in the cancellation of his passport and attempts to extradite him to his native country.
Kanter, however, continues to do his part to raise awareness about government corruption and the mistreatment of people around the world.
“My message to the Chinese government is liberate Tibet,” began Kanter’s recorded message. “Under the brutal Chinese government, basic rights and freedoms for Tibetans are non-existent. They are not allowed to study and learn their language and culture freely. They are not allowed to travel freely. They are not allowed to access the information freely ”.
He also referred to how Tibetans are detained, sent to re-education classes and even executed by the Chinese Communist Party government. Kanter addressed President Jinping directly, calling him a “brutal dictator.”
As related ESPNChinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin maintains that Kanter was only “trying to attract attention,” adding that his comments were “not worth debunking.”
The NBA’s Problem with China
This is not the first time that a prominent member of the NBA family has made comments about China that resulted in the league being ripped off TV screens. For his part, Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey – then a member of the Houston Rockets – tweeted in favor of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2019, the Times noted.
Although he deleted the tweet shortly thereafter, his statements caused multiple Chinese companies to withdraw their endorsement deals with the league. What is more, some parties were withdrawn from the state television service, CCTV.
Ultimately, Morey’s tweet cost the league hundreds of millions of dollars. NBA PR was also hit by failing to join Morey in his strong support for Hong Kong.
Eventually, NBA basketball returned to China through Tencent, but Morey’s Sixers are suspiciously absent from the streamer. Now, it seems the Celtics have joined them.
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Why aren’t Celtics games being broadcast in China?