Brad Stevens is firing back at Enes Freedom after the former Celtics center said the team tried to limit his activism during his time in Boston.
Freedom on Sunday said when he “wore shoes to bring awareness about Human Rights violations around the world (the Celtics) begged me to remove them and threatened to ban me.”
Stevens, speaking to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald, denied the claim.
“Here’s exactly what happened. I was actually at home, and when he decided to wear the sneakers, there was some concern — and I didn’t even know until the end of the first quarter — that there was a potential uniform or dress code violation,” Stevens said. “I don’t know what was said — I can’t imagine that phrasing was said — but the question to me was what to do about Enes’ shoes. I said I think that he’s fine, and let me double-check with the NBA to see if there’s any uniform violation.
“Double-checked, fine, and he wore those the rest of the game and he wore whatever he wanted the rest of the year. It’s interesting, because I feel really good that we truly sat here and supported him and his right to express himself and his freedom of speech, and I even told him the next day that you know I’ve always done that.”
Freedom’s accusation came after Ime Udoka and Celtics staff members wore blue and yellow pins in support of Ukraine against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday.
Freedom has yet to find his footing in the NBA after Boston traded the center to the Houston Rockets, who released him four days after the deal.