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Enes Kanter: ‘Fight’ remark misinterpreted because English is my second language

In a comedic attempt at motivation – considering both the source and execution – during the Knicks’ loss to the Trail Blazers on Monday, injured Knicks center Enes Kanter… well, I guess I don’t know what he did. But I know how he explained it:

“I’m not going to tell who, but I told somebody, ‘Hey man, go out there and fight with somebody. It will get the energy up.” No, I’m serious. If you go out there and just hit somebody or just fight with somebody, get a technical foul, I will pay for the fine, I don’t care. Just go out there and do your thing. Because we need that energy, we need that fight. It doesn’t matter if we’re down by 25, a fight, get a technical foul, the crowd is in it, and they’re gonna get nervous.”

Michael Beasley started an altercation with Jusuf Nurkic in the fourth quarter, and Frank Ntilikina joined in. Kanter looked extremely excited as Beasley went to the bench.

But now Kanter is backtracking clarifying backtracking.

Kanter, via Ian Begley of ESPN:

“The front office told me I cannot say stuff like that,” the Knicks center said Tuesday after practice. “It’s a learning process. This is my second language. When I say fight, it means compete, play hard, compete. You get a tech; you get a tech. They told me I cannot say stuff like that. I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry, NBA, my fault.”

Learning another language is extremely difficult. I have incredible respect for Kanter doing that.

But he has sounded well-spoken in English before. It’s difficult to buy this excuse.

The far more likely explanation: Kanter did something he shouldn’t have, bragged about it after the game, heard from unhappy management, faces league punishment and is trying to cover for himself. After all, why would someone get a technical foul for just competing and playing hard? Unless that just got lost in translation, too.