Enes Kanter defends against Nikola Jokic. May 1, 2019; Denver, CO, USA; Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter (00) defends Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) in the second quarter in game two of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

After Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter pointed out that the official NBA Turkey Twitter account used an NBA tweet but omitted him in a sign of deference to the Turkish government, the NBA announced that they have ended the relationship with the Turkish company that ran the account.

Kanter has been a man without a country for the past few years. Kanter is one of the most vocal and most high-profile critics of Turkish president Recip Tayyip Erdogan who by controlling the media and jailing anyone who speaks ill of him, is increasingly turning Kanter’s native Turkey into a dictatorship.

After supporting Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen and the Gulen movement that was meant to teach tolerance and promote education, Kanter has had his Turkish passport canceled and he’s now unable to leave the United States for fear that he could be sent to Turkey and be thrown in prison or be killed for going against Erdogan.

As a result, Kanter is not talked about within the country and supporting him could result in jail time. And as was the case last night, the official NBA Turkey Twitter account, @NBATurkiye, avoided to mention Kanter scoring 15 points and getting nine rebounds in the Blazers Game 2 win over the Nuggets.

Kanter pointed this out, showing the tweet from the @NBA Twitter account and then the one from @NBATurkiye which copied the @NBA tweet and kept everything but Kanter’s name and scoreline.

This follows something else that happened to Kanter during Game 2 as a Nuggets fan told him to “Go back to Turkey,” fully knowing he cannot. Kanter responded in a rather diplomatic way reminding those of us in America to “Be grateful for the Democracy and Freedom we have here” and that he’s not able to go back to Turkey because he wants that same thing in his country.

After receiving support from the NBA and the NBPA, deputy commissioner Mark Tatum explained that not only has the local vender been released from operating the Turkish account, he reiterated that fans in Turkey can watch all playoff games on NBA League Pass and NBA TV International. Kanter expressed his appreciation for the league and players association for their support and action.

When a sports league or team has a worldwide presence, they’re likely to have location specific social media accounts. And if that’s the case, it’s important to have a local presence for a location specific social media account. You’re more connected with the majority of your followers when you’re really in the area and can tailor content specifically for them. In a situation like this, it might be best for someone outside of Turkey to run the account and avoid potential political pressure from Erdogan.

[Washington Post]

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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