Joe Barbieri ’23
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter recently criticized China and President Xi Jinping for its record of human rights abuses. Calling Xi Jinping a “brutal dictator,” Kanter has also advocated for Tibetan independence.
The response from China has been critical, as Celtics games have been pulled from the Chinese internet. The NBA has had difficulties with China in the past, seen especially with former Houston Rockets executive Darryl Morrey. Morrey tweeted out support for Hong Kong protests back in 2019, and the tweet was quickly deleted. Sponsorships with Chinese companies were cut, and the country refused to air basketball games.
However, the issue of a rising China should not be brushed aside. It is time to expose China for what it really is: a totalitarian state that has committed multiple human rights abuses. Some issues are so important that they must be brought up. In the wake of the George Floyd protests, athletes have a moral obligation to speak out on key issues and protest in whatever way they want.
Colin Kaepernick was the perfect example of this. While I disagree with Kaepernick on a number of issues, I respect his willingness to bring attention to an issue that needs to be addressed. The right to peacefully protest is a pillar in our democracy. There is no reason anyone should be scared to protest for what they believe in.
We have a first amendment for a reason. Whatever side of the political spectrum you fall on, you have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of any injustice.