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Enes KanterPhoto by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

HOUSTON (LifeSiteNews) — A propaganda outlet for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is applauding the NBA’s Houston Rockets for releasing Enes Kanter Freedom.

Freedom, who changed his last name after becoming an American citizen, has been an outspoken critic of human rights abuses by the CCP. The National Basketball Association (NBA) has close ties and investments in China, which the league sees as a long-term source for profit.

The league infamously distanced itself from Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey in 2019 after he posted a social media comment in support of democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

Now the Rockets have let go of Freedom after acquiring him in a trade from the Boston Celtics, and some conservatives have raised concerns that he is being blacklisted. Comments from a CCP media outlet are not allaying those concerns.

“Anti-China NBA player mocked after being waived by Houston Rockets, the Global Times wrote on February 11. The outlet called him a “below-average player” and said Freedom “has been ignorant and arrogant on China’s core interests and internal affairs.”

The Global Times said Freedom is a “burden” to the NBA, because broadcasters in the country will not show games featuring him — Celtics games were no longer shown in China due to Freedom’s activism.

“Despite a rare appearance this season, broadcasters in China have yet to resume games featuring the Celtics, making the anti-China Kanter Freedom look like a burden to the league that has hundreds of millions audience members in China,” the Global Times wrote.

The CCP media site did praise Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James. James called Daryl Morey “misinformed” and “not educated about the situation” in 2019 for his comments about Hong Kong and China.

“Freedom wasn’t a popular character in the NBA, and the Boston Celtics is the eighth team he has served in the league [the Celtics was the fifth team he played on],” the Global Times wrote. “He called out Lebron James, one of the greatest basketball players ever, last November, for not standing up to sponsor Nike and its alleged use of ‘forced labor’ in China, which proved to be fictitious and fabricated. James responded that Freedom tried to use his name ‘to create an opportunity for himself,’ and ‘he’s definitely not someone I would give my energy to.’”

Freedom has been retweeting comments in support from conservatives on his Twitter page.

“Great meeting with @EnesFreedom. Enes is an important voice highlighting genocide,” Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy wrote on Tuesday. “We need to amplify those who risk their livelihoods to call out this murderous regime.”

“Proud to stand alongside fellow warrior diplomat @EnesFreedom in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its abuses,” Florida Republican Rep. Michael Waltz wrote. “NBA players frequently speak out for social justice but apparently when it’s against China, he’s shown the door.”

The NBA denies it has blacklisted Freedom. “We continue to support Enes Kanter Freedom expressing his views on matters that are important to him as we do for all members of the NBA family,” the league told the Washington Times. “The NBA league office had no involvement in these team roster decisions involving Mr. Freedom.”

The Rockets did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday from LifeSiteNews.