Is LeBron James listening?
The NBA’s biggest star has had plenty to say about the kind of “oppression” Black Lives Matter radicals prattle about when it comes to the United States, but he and the rest of the professional sports establishment — including Nike and other sports equipment makers — have been suspiciously silent about the well-documented human rights abuses of their biggest foreign patron, the Chinese Communist Party.
But one NBA player is calling out the whole con.
Boston Celtic backup center Enes Kanter is no stranger to controversy when it comes to the communist giant. A social media video he posted last week clearly spurred the Chinese telecom giant Tencent to pull Thursday’s Celtics-Knicks season opener from viewers because of Kanter’s impassioned plea for the people of Chinese-occupied Tibet.
But in a new social media post on Monday, Kanter picked a battle closer to home, calling out Nike, the corporate home of NBA stars like James and Michael Jordan as well as former NFL football player and chronic complainer Colin Kaepernick.
Nike is a massive corporation, with a market value of more than $250 billion, according to the global economic site Macrotrends.net.
But according to Kanter, that value is built on slave labor provided by the Chinese Communist Party.
As Kanter pointed out, Nike consistently takes the “woke” position when it comes to the U.S. — siding with Black Lives Matter, “stop Asian hate,” the “Latino community,” the “LGBTQ community” and just about every brand of “injustice” that can be found or imagined in its home country.
But when it comes to China – land of genocide and documented oppression – Nike is all business.
Check out Kanter’s post here:
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) October 25, 2021
“But when it comes to China, Nike remains silent,” Kanter said.
“You do not say a word about oppression of minorities in China. You are afraid to speak.”
Now, what would Nike be afraid of?
“There are so many forced-labor factories in China,” Kanter said. “Modern-day slavery. And it is happening right now in China.”
In particular, Kanter noted the plight of the Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic minority in China that has been targeted by “President” Xi Jinping and his communist government.
“Millions of Uyghurs are currently detained, sold, and assigned to work at forced-labor camps, prisons and factories across the country,” he said.
It also specifically does not do business in the area of western China known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where the Uyghur population is concentrated and oppression was the subject of an exhaustive congressional report in March 2020.
“We have been conducting ongoing diligence with our suppliers in China to identify and assess potential forced labor risks related to employment of Uyghurs, or other ethnic minorities from XUAR, in other parts of China. Based on evolving information, we strengthened our audit protocols to identify emerging risks related to potential labor transfer programs. Our ongoing diligence has not found evidence of employment of Uyghurs, or other ethnic minorities from XUAR, elsewhere in our supply chain.”
Well, if Nike’s “ongoing diligence” hasn’t uncovered any problems with Chinese labor, there must be none to be found. And steering clear of one province in the nation will keep Nike’s hands clean of even the hint of involvement with slave labor in China, right?
It’s a smokescreen. China has already given its orders when it comes to human rights.
Just as the investigation by President Joe Biden’s intelligence community was a smokescreen when it was unable to establish a link between the coronavirus pandemic that started in Wuhan, China, and the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab almost unique in the world specializing in the kind of research that could start such a pandemic and just happens to be situated in Wuhan, China. (What are the odds?)
China had already made it clear what the world was to believe about the origin of the pandemic — and it is being obeyed by a sycophanitic World Health Organization.
China itself, of course, has denied any kind of forced labor — and who doesn’t believe totalitarian dictatorship’s commitment to human rights?
So, maybe a little fact-finding by the people involved might help.
And that’s where Kanter’s challenge comes in. He’s tangled publicly with James before, and clearly he’s not afraid to do it again.
Toward the end of his video, he invited Nike co-founder and former CEO Phil Knight to come to China with him, along with Los Angeles Laker loudmouth LeBron and former Chicago Bull and NBA legend Michael Jordan, to make sure everything’s on the up-and-up in the Middle Kingdom.
They could also bring Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback whose NFL legacy will be louts disrespecting the national anthem on national television (and every high school and youth sports field where kids and young adults emulate their sports heroes).
The odds of any of these gentlemen taking Kanter up on the challenge are somewhere between vanishing and non-existent, of course.
They have China’s word that it does not engage in human rights abuses like forced labor (which would make the country unique in the history of totalitarian governments since the world began, but, hey, it’s 2021 now.)
And they have Nike’s word that the company has been “conducting ongoing diligence” with its suppliers in China to nip any possibility of forced labor right in the bud.
And, most importantly of all, they are superstars to the left, and the beneficiaries of a hideously biased mainstream media environment that will never allow progressive heroes to be questioned.
James and Kaepernick can mewl to their heart’s content about the boogeyman of “systemic racism” in the United States, while they collect wealth beyond the imagination of virtually every American, white or black.
They can posture and pretend to be outraged over imagined grievances. They can assume superiority over their fellow citizens at their country’s sins of the past.
And they can ignore, as long as it’s profitable, reports of suffering and death of others at the hands of a regime that helped create their fortunes.
A long-dead institution of slavery in the United States, an institution that was forcibly ended by the blood of hundreds of thousands of white American men, gets more social media traction than a “modern-day slavery” destroying lives in the world today.
But voices like Kanter’s are aiming to make that studied ignorance more difficult.
Maybe LeBron James and others in the sports establishment — and the executive suites at Nike — can start listening for a change.
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