Crowd is chanting “Kanter sucks!” and one yelled out, “Go back to Turkey, oh wait you can’t!”
‘This is hurtful’: Enes Kanter responds to abusive Nuggets fan who yelled ‘go back to Turkey, oh wait you can’t’
Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter had a fantastic game for the Trail Blazers in their 97-90 Game 2 win over the Denver Nuggets in the 2019 NBA Playoffs on Wednesday. But he also had to deal with some hurtful comments hurled at him from Nuggets fans in the Pepsi Center crowd.
During the second half of Game 2, Nuggets fans were understandably frustrated with their team’s poor shooting and Kanter’s success, and began to chant, “Kanter sucks.”
But one fan pushed things too far Wednesday evening when they reportedly yelled, “Go back to Turkey, oh wait you can’t!”
After the game, Kanter took to Twitter to address the comments from the fan, calling them hurtful and reminding basketball fans that the reason he can’t go home to Turkey is because he chooses to promote freedom and human rights rather than support an oppressive Turkish government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
UPDATE: The NBA Players Association released a statement in support of Enes Kanter after he took to Twitter to call out both the fan comments from the Pepsi Center Wednesday evening and highlighted the fact that the NBA Turkey Twitter account refused to mention his name or contributions to Wednesday’s victory.
“The National Basketball Players Association fully supports our players using their platforms to stand up for their beliefs and the principles they support. We stand with Enes and, as with all of our players, will work to ensure that he is treated fairly and with respect.”
You may remember that Kanter is a Turkish national and has made international headlines over the past couple years for being a prominent and outspoken critic of Erdogan and his government. As a follower of a U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a failed military coup in 2016, Kanter has become a political target. While Gulen has denied the allegations, thousands of people suspected of ties to his network have been arrested, fired or become targets in Turkey, including Kanter.
In 2017, the Turkish government revoked Kanter’s passport and he was detained in a Bucharest airport while traveling in Romania. In January, Turkish prosecutors also issued an international arrest warrant or “red notice” for Kanter saying the center belongs to a terrorist organization and requested his extradition to Turkey to stand trial. Kanter believes this was done as retaliation for his political views and no longer travels internationally. As a result, Kanter recently missed a Trail Blazers game in Toronto, Canada, due to the immigration issues stemming from the red notice.
Source: Oregon Live