FBI reportedly installed a panic button next to Kanter's bed.
Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter continues to use his platform to speak out against the Turkish government and president Reccip Tayyip Erdogan, regardless of how many death threats he receives. The 27-year old big man recently told ESPN's Tim Keown, "I have a voice, and I'm trying to use it to be the voice for all the innocent people who don't have one."
Because of all the threats he receives, Kanter made a point to meet with Portland's FBI agents upon signing with the Blazers in February. After the meeting, agents installed a panic button next to Kanter's bed, and he was encouraged to press it if he ever believes there's a real threat.
According to the report by ESPN's Tim Keown:
He [Kanter] says the agents listened and wrote down Kanter's words and asked a few more questions. Not once did they ask if he was taking the threats seriously, and before they left, they installed a device next to his bed. "If you're uncomfortable with anything, just push that button," they told him. "If you hear something you don't like or have a reason to believe there's a threat, push the button and someone will be here within minutes."
Kanter, who would be arrested if he ever returned to Turkey, has told the FBI he has no intentions of toning down his criticism of Erdogan even as it puts his family in danger.
"I will never stop talking," he says. He laughs again, at the absurdity of that statement, and the need to employ it. "I understand my mother and father and sister are in Turkey, but if I stop talking, who is going to speak for the thousands and thousands of innocent people in jail? People are getting tortured and killed, so I have to talk about these issues. I'm not a journalist or a politician, so this is my platform."
Kanter and the Blazers will look to avoid elimination tonight in Portland, as the Warriors hold a commanding 3-0 lead. Game 4, airing on ESPN, is scheduled to tipoff at 9:00pm ET.