Enes Kanter Calls out Nike for 'Silence' Over Human Rights Issues in China

NBA star Enes Kanter is calling out sportswear brand Nike for what he says is its 'silence' over ongoing issues in China involving the Uyghurs and minorities.

Enes Kanter
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Image via Getty/Michael Reaves

Enes Kanter

NBA star Enes Kanter, currently of the Boston Celtics, is calling out Nike for what he deems the brand’s silence over ongoing injustices against minorities in China, namely the mostly Muslim Uyghur population.

Kanter began taking a stance on the issue in recent days through messaging on custom footwear, choosing to double down during last night’s road game against the Hornets. The Celtics center wore a pair of Air Jordan 11 Lows scrawled with messaging including “made with slave labor” and “hypocrite Nike” and blood-like splatters. He continued his messaging on social media, posting a video to both his Instagram and Twitter accounts elaborating on his position. He argues that Nike supports minorities in America but doesn’t do enough in areas like China. 

Enes Kanter Air Jordan 11 Low

“Nike stands with Black Lives Matter, Nike stands with Stop Asian Hate, Nike stands with the Latino community, and Nike stands with the LGBTQ community. But when it comes to China, Nike remains silent,” Kanter says. “You do not address police brutality in China. You do not speak about discrimination against the LGBTQ. You do not say a word about the oppression of minorities in China…Who makes your shoes in China? Do you even know? There are so many forced labor factories in China. For instance, Uyghur forced labor. Modern day slavery is happening right now in China.”

In another post, Kanter shared images of his customized Air Jordan 11s and asked Nike co-founder Phil Knight to accompany him on a trip to China. “We can try to visit these slave labor camps and you can see it with your own eyes,” the NBA star wrote.

Although human rights groups have raised concerns over China’s treatment of Uyghurs in recent years (BBC notes that it’s believed China has detained more than one million against their will), there is no evidence than any Nike factories are connected to forced labor.

Nike did not immediately return a request for comment.