Enes Freedom challenges Crosby and McDavid to boycott Beijing Olympics

Enes Freedom implored star NHL athletes Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid to boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing because of human rights violations in China. Courtesy: CBC / POWER & POLITICS.

With the Beijing Olympics a few months away, Boston Celtics centre Enes Freedom is challenging Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid, two of the NHL's biggest stars, to boycott the upcoming Winter Games.

Freedom — who legally changed his name after gaining U.S. citizenship — was asked in a recent interview on CBC's Power & Politics about the message Canadian athletes are sending by participating in the Olympics and he says they should stand up for what is right.

"All the gold medals you can win in the world are not more important than your values, your principles," Freedom explained. "They should not go ... I understand these athletes are working so hard to get to that level. But sometimes there are bigger things than sports, there are bigger things than basketball or hockey."

Freedom has been critical of China on social media saying the country's leader, Xi Jinping, was a “brutal dictator" because of his government's repressive policies in Tibet. It led to Celtics games being pulled from being streamed on Chinese internet altogether.

He also called out NBA star LeBron James for not standing up against Nike and its alleged use of forced labour when manufacturing its shoes in China.

A native of Turkey, Freedom has been an outspoken critic of the country's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, so much so that Turkish prosecutors have sought his arrest and his Turkish passport was revoked.

-- Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

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