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Enes Kanter Freedom is so happy to have gotten the security that comes with the freedom his brand-new US citizenship provides that he literally changed his last name to “Freedom” on getting said citizenship this past Monday.
The Boston Celtics center, an outspoken defender of human rights abroad, went on another television show soon after getting his citizenship and spoke about his beliefs in ways which he might not be able to do in his native Turkey. But his choice of venue and words both might be in the midst of teaching Freedom an important lesson about freedom — let us explain.
Freedom appeared on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Show” to talk about his freedom, a show — and network — which has had some controversial stances on issues Freedom himself has used his freedom to speak up and even protest about.
Enes Kanter Freedom to Tucker Carlson on Americans criticizing America: "I feel like they should just keep their mouth shut and stop criticizing the greatest nation in the world and they should focus on their freedoms and their human rights and democracy." pic.twitter.com/5nLAWYlkDg
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) November 30, 2021
It is certainly possible that Freedom did not know the past positions taken by the host of the show he was on, but his words did not do much to help the situation.
“I feel like they should just keep their mouth shut and stop criticizing the greatest nation in the world and they should focus on their freedoms and their human rights and democracy,” said Freedom via the Daily Beast’s Justin Baragona when asked about US citizens criticizing their own country.
More than a few of his (former?) fans and media responded with critiques of his own hypocrisy in making such a statement on such a show on Twitter.
WATCH: Boston’s Enes Kanter Freedom talks about getting his US citizenship, name change https://t.co/qKePVVUVWZ
— The Celtics Wire (@TheCelticsWire) November 30, 2021
Some focused on how it is by that very freedom to criticize the government that such freedoms are protected and preserved:
Always been a huge supporter of Enes Kanter Freedom (@EnesFreedom) as a player and person. This ain't it. Many Americans don't face hardships people in other countries do (which Enes knows well) but it doesn't mean Americans should not speak up. That's the beauty of America! 🇺🇸 https://t.co/IsKW1ykf6N
— Dan Kelley (@DanKelley66) November 30, 2021
Firstly, congratulations, Enes Freedom. I get what he's saying…the comparison between this country and others. But part of the freedom we have as citizens is being able to criticize a country we want to make better without persecution. Its the type of freedom he strived for. https://t.co/YSmd94PQ20
— Roy Bellamy (@roybelly) November 30, 2021
This is a terrible take from Enes.
I am not standing with this.
democracy dies when criticism stops. https://t.co/Fkd82Xi7ta
— 巴丢草 Badiucao💉💉 (@badiucao) November 30, 2021
Others took Freedom to task for his choice of venues for that speech.
The fact he was on the Tucker Carlson show is a major red flag. https://t.co/YPZPJw9Kse
— Simon Rath (@HawksDraftNerd) November 30, 2021
Some noted the controversial nature of the show he appeared on, and how it has been explicitly oppositional to stances Freedom himself has taken in the past.
If you don’t see this as a coded attack on the NBA players who have protested racist police killings, then you don’t know Enes….or Tucker. So much for “Freedom”. https://t.co/u6EORDsKQ1
— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) November 30, 2021
And still others doubted his sincerity:
I believe the kids call this, pandering. https://t.co/IFK2ITsV7E
— Andrew Hammond (@ahammFreePress) November 30, 2021
Enes is a joke, man. https://t.co/gosFbwl2wp
— Nekias (Nuh-KY-us) Duncan (@NekiasNBA) November 30, 2021
Now, Freedom will get a master class in the complexities of freedom, including how having the ability to speak one’s mind does not shield one from the criticism and rejection others have the freedom to levy in response.
Perhaps the novelty of the situation got the best of the Boston big man, or perhaps this is a new chapter in how he represents himself and his beliefs. But the new US citizen is now free to speak his mind, with all that freedom ultimately entails.