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Enes Kanter says he would have taken knee during anthem, locked arms with teammates instead

Enes Kanter

Jeff Zelevansky

There have been no protests around the NBA during the national anthem than there were one year ago — teams are locking arms in a sign of solidarity and unity during the anthem, but that is all so far. (It is possible when regular season games start we will see players address the crowd or take other steps.)

The Knicks’ Enes Kanter says he was willing to take that one step further and take a knee — as has been seen in the NFL — but chose to side with what his teammates want to do, he told Ian Begley of ESPN.

“We (locked arms) as a team. If it were me I would have taken the knee. But as a team you know, we stand together. The most important thing I’m saying, man, I understand we have our differences. I feel like the most important thing in life is leave our differences on the table and try to find what we have in common. In America it doesn’t matter, anywhere in the world, it doesn’t matter, tall, short, black, white, fat, skinny, whatever you are, we need to work this out together. And then whatever is happening right now - I’m saying our country because I feel like this is my home. It’s just really sad, all these things are happening. In America, it’s freedom of religion, freedom of speech. Today, we protested peacefully out there. We didn’t do nothing crazy, whatever. I am going to pray for this country because I love this country and I hope things will get better and better every day.”

Kanter was born and raised in Turkey, but because of his support for the opposition in what has become a dictatorial country, Kanter has had his passport revoked, and his parents have had to renounce him (his father has been arrested multiple times). He has said before this experience has taught him to appreciate what he has in the United States, including his right to protest. Kanter tweeted this out.

This is the statement from the Knicks organization on the protest.