Enes Kanter was harassed Friday afternoon outside a Cambridge, Mass., mosque, but that isn’t deterring him from speaking out against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Kanter attended Friday Prayer with teammate Tacko Fall and was confronted by Erdogan supporters upon exiting the property. On Saturday at the Boston Celtics’ annual open practice, he spoke to reporters about the incident.
“After the first practice, me and Tacko went to that mosque, because it was really close to our facility,” Kanter said, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “Our second practice was at 3 p.m. So I went to this mosque, we prayed and me and Tacko were about to leave and then we were just outside and there were just these two guys. You can see on the video they were just waiting for us. They were screaming, they were yelling, they were cursing.”
Despite the confrontation, Kanter reiterated he won’t be changing his outspoken ways.
“No, what I’m doing is huge because I’m talking about human rights,” he said. “I’m talking about democracy, freedom, freedom of speech, religion and expression. I’m talking about justice.
“So, just because I’m talking about these issues and that stuff, I’m going to get threats? (Then) I’ll take that,” Kanter added. “I’ll be OK having security next to me 24/7. But those issues that I’m talking about are way bigger than myself and basketball.”
Kanter noted that the men were calling him a traitor because he had spoken out against the issues with Turkey’s president. He says that it was the first time it has happened to him in America, but with added security, he hopes it’ll be the last.
Kanter, Fall and the Celtics kick off their preseason schedule Sunday against the Charlotte Hornets at TD Garden. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images