Updating my post on Kanter Freedom
When he's right, he's right.
Here’s an update on my Dec. 8 post about Enes Kanter Freedom, the Boston Celtics journeyman center who added the word Freedom to his name when he became a U.S. citizen this month. In that post, I called him a “horse’s ass” after he made the rounds of right-wing talk shows, like Tucker Carlson’s, bashing his fellow Black athletes, ie. LeBron James, for speaking out against racism and suggesting that they “should just keep their mouth shut and stop criticizing the greatest nation in the world, and they should focus on their freedoms and their human rights and democracy.”
He’s also joined the anti-China chorus claiming LBJ and — former NBAer, now playing in China — Jeremy Lin, are “pawns of the Chinese Communist Party. “
But I also pointed out that I supported Freedom’s right to speak his mind and that I even agreed with some of Freedom’s comments. For example, he's called on NBA commissioner Adam Silver to pause the season amid a surge in Covid cases, and had a falling out with Turkey’s thuggy President Erdoğan, making him persona non grata in the country and afraid to travel to other countries with his team.
I’m good with all that.
In a signed article in today’s Boston Globe, Freedom writes:
Most shockingly, the United States leads the world in jailing its own people, mostly due to crimes related to poverty, mental illness, or addiction — social and health issues that need to be addressed. As a country that accounts for nearly 5 percent of the global population, the United States has 20 percent of the world’s prison population, with people of color suffering disproportionately. The consequences don’t end with incarceration, as former inmates can go on to face a lifetime of barriers to finding work and re-entering society. Even a progressive state like Massachusetts locks up people at higher rates than many countries. According to a 2020 Harvard Law report on racial disparities in Massachusetts’ criminal system, Black and Latinx people receive longer prison sentences than similarly situated white people for similar offenses. The devastating impact of mass incarceration on our communities is a stark reminder of the work that needs to be done at home.
OK, so I admit, “horse’s ass” was one-sided. Sorry, Enes.
Also in today’s Globe
‘Rubber stamp’ justice? In Mass., prison officials almost always deny prisoners’ claims of abuse behind bars.
Almost written as an addendum to EKF’s comments, the Globe reports this morning that, every year, Massachusetts prisoners file hundreds of grievances alleging all manner of mistreatment behind bars, from excessive force to racism to harassment — all at the hands of prison employees. And year after year, state records show, prison officials reject almost all of them.
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