Enes Kanter Freedom’s decision to publicly criticise China for its human rights violations caused a reaction from the highest levels of the NBA.
The league has many business ties with largest-populated country in the world. As a result any criticism directed towards China from anyone associated with the NBA is cause of concern because of potential repercussions.
A prime example of that was then-Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of Hong Kong protests. China responded with cancelling broadcasts of the NBA games, resulting significant losses for the Rockets and the league itself.
In addition, the league’s stars have endorsement deals in China that could potentially be negatively impacted. As Freedom started publicly speaking about the human rights violations in China, he was getting calls from around the league.
He also talked to the NBA’s commissioner Adam Silver. While he did not explicitly ask Freedom to stop talking about the subject, he did tell him “Everyone knows it’s business,” according to George Packer of The Atlantic.