NBA's Enes Kanter calls for 2022 Olympics to skip China's 'dictatorship': 'It should be morals over money'

, NBA's Enes Kanter calls for 2022 Olympics to skip China's 'dictatorship': 'It should be morals over money', The Evepost Huff News

NBA star Enes Kanter, who has spoken out many times in support of global human rights causes, called on the International Olympic Committee to vacate its plan to hold the 2022 Olympiad in Beijing, especially after the brief disappearance of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Sunday that organization leadership held a 30minute call with the Chinese tennis star after she disappeared after lodging an allegation of sexual abuse against former Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.

Kanter, a center for the Boston Celtics, told “The Story” that even if much of the professional sports world remains uniformly silent on Chinese human rights abuses and other allegations against the Communist leadership there, “someone has to do it.”

“There’s so many athletes, so many actors, so many singers and rappers out there. They’re scared to say a word because they care too much about their money – the endorsement deals, what the teams they play for say,” the Turkish-American athlete said.

“They should know one thing: It should be morals and principles over money. It shouldn’t be the opposite way. People’s life depends on this,” Kanter added, noting that young people around the world look up to athletes in all sports – and therefore the players should be careful about how they conduct themselves.

, NBA's Enes Kanter calls for 2022 Olympics to skip China's 'dictatorship': 'It should be morals over money', The Evepost Huff News

NBA star Enes Kanter recently wore athletic sneakers with imagery criticizing Chinese President Xi Jinping

Host Martha MacCallum noted that Kanter has long been a critic of the Chinese Communist Party and its leader Xi Jinping, showing a photo of a pair of sneakers he wore during a recent game that depicted Xi as Winnie the Pooh with the caption “Xi is a control freak.”

“I do feel alone, yes. … So many people care too much about the business side of it. But to me, human rights are way more important than anything you offer me,” Kanter told MacCallum.

In response to a statement from an IOC executive saying the organization’s hands are tied in moving on from China, Kanter questioned how the IOC could continue to even recognize the “brutal dictatorship.”

“[China] engages in censorship and threaten [sic] freedoms and they don’t respect human rights and hide the truth. While we speak right now, there’s a genocide happening,” he said. “Millions of people [are] in concentration camps – they’re getting tortured and gang-raped every day. You think about putting Olympic games in a country like this, it’s unacceptable.”

, NBA's Enes Kanter calls for 2022 Olympics to skip China's 'dictatorship': 'It should be morals over money', The Evepost Huff News

Kanter has long made waves with his public pronouncements, previously being disowned by his family in 2016 due to his support for Fethullah Gulen – a Turkish religious cleric living in exile in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan blamed Gulen for a failed 2016 coup attempt, which he denies. And Kanter has spoken out in support of the Muslim cleric’s followers who were arrested or fired from their jobs soon after the unrest.

, NBA's Enes Kanter calls for 2022 Olympics to skip China's 'dictatorship': 'It should be morals over money', The Evepost Huff News

Peng Shuai’s disappearance may be part of President Xi Jinping’s cultural crackdown. (Getty Images)

Kanter told a Canadian news outlet in 2020 he has personally visited with Gulen, 80, who lives at a compound near Kunkletown, Pa.

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Kanter’s advocacy has led him, like Gulen, to be wanted by Erdogan — whom the Celtics star has referred to as a “dictator”. 

Ankara revoked Kanter’s passport in 2017, and he is sheepish about traveling abroad due to the threat of detention by Turkish agents.

Kanter has spoken out many times against Erdogan and the Turkish government, writing recently in the Washington Post that “it is time for the United States to take the lead and marshal international support” for dissidents who have fled or been allegedly “kidnapped” by the government.

Fox News’ Peter Aitken contributed to this report.