China has announced that it will no longer broadcast Boston Celtics games after one of its players criticised Xi Jinping.
Turkish international, Ener Kanter, 29, labelled Xi Jinping a "brutal dictator" in a social media post over the Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet, the New York Times reports.
The 29-year-old’s criticism of Beijing has sparked another round of trouble for the NBA in China, which is one of its largest markets.
Boston Celtics – who hold the record for the most NBA championship wins with 17 and are one of the league’s most famous teams worldwide – no longer have their matches available to watch on replay on Tencent, which streams the NBA in the Asian country.
The platform has gone a step further and is indicating that no upcoming games will be available either.
Kanter also called for Tibetan independence while wearing a t-shirt with an image of the Dalai Lama on the social media post uploaded on Wednesday.
The 6ft 10ins giant routinely uses his platform to advocate for human rights and is also wanted in his home country of Turkey for alleged defamation and terrorism offences, after denouncing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over reports of human rights abuses.
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This isn’t the first time the NBA has come under fire by the Chinese government, as in 2019 the Houston Rockets General Manager, Daryl Morey, tweeted his support for pro-democracy protests taking place in Hong Kong.
The Chinese government and several Chinese businesses swiftly severed ties with the Rockets, even after both Morey and the NBA backtracked.
With Kanter not being someone who backtracks on his views, this 'blackout' may not end anytime soon.
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