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New York Knicks center Enes Kanter tore into the NBA on Monday, calling the league “u scared little rats” and questioning the league’s commitment to its values when the NBA Europe Instagram page left him off a poster celebrating Turkish players.
The post asked which player from Turkey had the best season, strangely omitting the one who is outpacing the rest. Kanter, 26, is also the most outspoken about the political situation in Turkey and is a fugitive in his own homeland. He formally accepted an apology from the league later Monday, but still seemed to question why it would happen in the first place.
NBA Europe omits Kanter on Turkish post
The NBA Europe Instagram page published a photo Monday “celebrating the best Turkish talent in the NBA.”
“Which player do you think has had the best season so far?” it asked.
The post consisted of the only three other Turkish players in the NBA: Milwaukee Bucks’ Ersan Ilyasova, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Cedi Osman and the Philadelphia 76ers Furkan Korkmaz.
Kanter, an eight-year veteran, has been in the league longer than second-year players Osman and Korkmaz. (Ilyasova is in his 11th season.)
He averages more minutes over his career and more points per game than all three players and is having the best season at 15 points and 11 rebounds per game. Kanter is also well known for being banished from Turkey and labeled a criminal terrorist stemming from his criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Kanter calls out league for omission
Kanter took to Twitter on Monday afternoon to call out the league. He posted twice within 20 minutes calling the NBA “u scared little rats” and questioning its commitment to its own values.
Kanter a fugitive in home country
Kanter uses his public platform to speak out against what he calls Erdogan’s “cruelty and disdain for human rights.” He is charged with insulting Erdogan and faces a four-year prison sentence if he returns to his home country.
Traveling with the team outside of the U.S. is also difficult since his passport was revoked. Last time he went to Europe in 2017 he was detained and nearly imprisoned.
Kanter said New York Knicks games in Turkey are blacked out and companies such as Nike won’t offer endorsement deals fearing their product will be outlawed in the country.
NBA issues apology to Kanter
Kanter said he received an apology from the league’s PR department, which contacted the Knicks’ PR group.
Kanter replied, “OK,” according to the New York Daily News. The NBA deleted its Instagram post and put up a new one that included Kanter, writing “A Must Correction: Of course, Enes Kanter should be included. Apologies.”
Kanter tweeted it with “Apology Accepted” two hours after his initial posts.
“They put something out, forgot to put me and changed it later,’’ Kanter told New York Post after the Knicks lost to the Wizards. “They called and gave an apology. I’m going to be a bigger man and accept it. I felt disrespected, definitely.
“It’s Europe, man. Anything can happen,’’ Kanter added when asked if he had his doubts. “I’m the best Turkish player to ever play the game.’’
The New York Post reported that league sources said it was a “factual error made by a company the NBA hired to promote its international players.”