Stevens told 98.5 The Sports Hub on Friday he spoke with Kanter about the first video in which Kanter accused Xi of trying to erase the Tibetan culture.
“My conversation with Enes was real short and sweet, and that is we’re always going to support any of our players and their right to freedom of speech and expression. And I think in my experience with the Celtics and the NBA, that’s the way it’s been and that’s the way it’ll continue to be,” Stevens said, via the Boston Globe.
Kanter wore sneakers with “Free Tibet” emblazoned on them during Boston’s double overtime loss to the New York Knicks. He didn’t play in that game.
Op Vrydag, Boston coach Ime Udoka spoke in support of Kanter’s right to freedom of speech but didn’t go further on his thoughts.
“We know it’s out there. He is very passionate about a lot of things, and he has the freedom to say what he wants. That’s above my department,” Udoka gesê, via Boston.com.
Kanter attacked China over Tibet and blasted the country for its reported torture of Uyghur Muslims. He also called out Muslim leaders and athletes to speak up more about the atrocities being committed in the country.
“I’m talking about you, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, Saudi King Salman, United Arab Emirates Mohammed bin Zayed, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi,” Kanter said. “It’s shameful and sad how you’ve decided to prioritize money and business with China over human rights. You call yourselves Muslims, but you are just using that for show. You simply do not care about people.
“And this goes out to fellow Muslim athletes as well. Why are you staying silent? Mohammed Salah, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Amir Khan … Say something. Do something. Speak up. Your silence, your inaction is complicit.”
Kanter’s remarks prompted Chinese streaming giant Tencent to pull Celtics games from its service.
China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin accused Kanter of “clout-chasing” and trying to get attention.
The NBA has not commented on Kanter’s remarks.