Concord, NH — Many people use their moment in the spotlight to advance their agenda. Today, I speak specifically about the sports world, where public displays have been with us for years. My first recollection goes back to Cassius Clay and his protest of the draft and the Vietnam War.
In 1964, Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali to signify his connection to Islam. In 1967, Ali won his biggest fight when he refused to be drafted on religious grounds and was able to avoid jail time, but he was stripped of his title, his passport confiscated, and he was forbidden from boxing. Time heals, and Ali becomes one of the most beloved American athletes.
During their medal ceremony in the Olympic Stadium in Mexico City on October 16, 1968, two African American athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, each raised a black-gloved fist during the playing of the US national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” While on the podium, Smith and Carlos, who had won gold and bronze medals respectively in the 200-meter running event of the 1968 Summer Olympics, turned to face the US flag and then kept their hands raised until the anthem had finished. This may be the most famous public protest by black sports athletes until Colin Kaepernick one-upped it.
Kaepernick had a mediocre and short career in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers. He is less known for his play on the field than his taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem. His protest caught on and turned the sports world on its head for a few years.
Players, teams, and networks went out of their way to accommodate the thinking of BLM and individuals who saw inequity and racism in sports and America. Being paid millions to play a game, these athletes were protesting their plight in today’s America. Even years after he threw his last pass, Kaepernick is still collecting millions a year in endorsement monies. He has turned his hatred of America into a cash cow, Sad.
Then there is Enes Kanter, or you might know him by his new name, Enes Kanter Freedom. Freedom changed his name a couple of weeks ago as he took the oath to become a United States citizen. Enes came to America from Turkey in 2009 to attend school and play basketball. Currently, he is playing for the Boston Celtics and is using his public exposure to call out corrupt governments like China and Venezuela.
To the chagrin of sponsors and some players, he uses custom-painted sneakers to call out atrocities committed against humanity by overzealous dictators. He is also speaking out on networks like FOX and is becoming the poster boy for America and the freedoms we enjoy. He is also contrasting these freedoms to the constraints of oppressive governments. He claims to have the silent support of many NBA players, but none share his courage. He is risking his future in the NBA by being honest about the conditions of some in dictator-controlled countries.
Enes Kanter Freedom is a breath of fresh air. He is forbidden to return to Turkey but now calls America his home. To see him speak about America is to see a man filled with pride and joy. He hopes to be joined by his parents and family trapped in Turkey. Freedom is so blessed with what we have in America and finds it sad to see many take America for granted. He is a fabulous American and proponent of our incredible country. We can learn so much from this young man from Turkey. Basketball brought him to America, but it is the blessings of America that are keeping him here. We are the lucky ones to have him.
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