Enes Kanter said he did not feel safe traveling to London for the Knicks' game against the Wizards Thursday.

By Khadrice Rollins
January 17, 2019

As Knicks center Enes Kanter continues to deal with the ramifications of speaking out against the Turkish government and president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, NBA commissioner Adam Silver is standing in support of the 2011 No. 3 pick.

While speaking to reporters before Thursday's NBA London Game between the Knicks and Wizards, which Kanter decided not to travel for out of fear of the Turkish government, Silver said the league has to be aware of global political issues, such as what Kanter is drawing attention to, because the NBA is such an international organization in how it handles business.

"I understand his reasoning why he elected not to come," Silver said, according to Mark Woods of ESPN.com. "Certainly there was never a suggestion from the league that he was not welcome to come on this trip. But we live in a world where these are issues that he is dealing with. And I recognize that for the NBA, because we're a global business, we have to pay attention to these issues as well.

"There is nothing more important to me as the commissioner of the league than the security and safety of our players. We take seriously the threats that he's received, even if it's just people on social media. I support Enes as a player in this league and I support the platform that players have to speak out on issues."

On Wednesday, the Turkish government reportedly issued a warrant for Kanter's arrest and extradition, saying he was a member of a terrorist organization looking to overthrow the government. Kanter has previously expressed his support for Erdogan's political rival, Fethullah Gulen, the cleric reportedly behind the failed coup attempt of 2016. Gulen has denied being a part of any such activity.

Silver added that it's "very unfortunate" Kanter could not travel for New York's game, which the team lost 101-100 due to a late goaltend.

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