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Enes Kanter calls Nets owner Joe Tsai a coward and puppet of Chinese government

Nets owner Joe Tsai

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 29: Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman, Alibaba Group, participates in a panel discussion during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 29, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images)

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In the midst of the Daryl Morey-China-Hong Kong controversy, Nets owner Joe Tsai made the unbelievable claim that 1.4 billion Chinese citizens agree on… well, anything.

Specifically, Tsai said they all “stand united when it comes to the territorial integrity of China and the country’s sovereignty over her homeland.” That framing matched the Chinese government, which strong-armed Hong Kong protesters (who were trying to maintain and expand their freedoms). Tsai has close ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

Celtics center Enes Kanter – who called Chinese President Xi Jinping a “dictator” and called out LeBron James and Nike for their stances on China – zeroed in on Tsai with Boston playing the Nets last night.


Kanter is right about one thing: Opposing the Chinese Communist Party is not anti-Asian. There is plenty of room to criticize the oppressive and authoritarian Chinese regime without being colored by bigotry.

There ought to be caution about calling Tsai a puppet, though. He can form his own beliefs without the Chinese government dictating his statements. He can also respond to Kanter if he chooses.

Kanter just wants that type of freedom expanded to Uyghurs, people in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Tibet, and other people with dissenting views.