Enes Kanter, despite being a New York Knick, is still staggeringly popular here in deepest Thunderland, but having two fan bases gets him nowhere with the makers of athletic shoes:
In the summer of 2016, around the same time as [Colin] Kaepernick began his protests, an attempted coup against the Turkish government sparked a crackdown on dissenting voices by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Kanter is a longtime critic of the regime and a supporter of US-based Fetullah Gulen, who Erdoğan blamed for the coup. And so he became a target.
The New York Knicks player had his Turkish passport revoked, and Erdoğan issued a warrant for his arrest. Kanter’s father even had to disown him in a bid to safeguard their family.
Despite playing for a popular NBA team, the 26-year-old cannot find a sponsor. This is because, he says, sportswear companies are wary of damaging their commercial prospects in Turkey. And in an interview with Vice Sports last month, he singled out (you guessed it) Nike as one of those companies.
“Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it,” says Ed Driscoll of Nike’s perfidy.