Kanter took to social media to allege it was “money over morals” for James, who has a lifetime deal with Nike. Kanter has included the two entities in tweets before saying the company uses slave labor in China and James was complicit in the practice since he wasn’t speaking out.
Money over Morals for the “King”
Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice
They really do “shut up & dribble” when Big Boss says so
Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?
He included an emoji of the Chinese flag next to “Big Boss,” insinuating James and the NBA are tip-toeing around the Chinese government’s human rights abuses to maintain the multibillion-dollar relationship. The photos are of shoes displaying the same message artistically. The writing on the toes read “Principals > Money” and “Morals > Money.”
Kanter has remained outspoken regarding the human rights situation in China. He’s called for Nike to use its influence there and largely spoke in generalities until bringing James and Michael Jordan into the conversation last month.
In a tweet on Oct. 26, he offered to book plan tickets for him and Nike owner Phil Knight to visit China and “try to visit these SLAVE labor camps and you can see it with your own eyes.” He offered for James and Jordan to come along too and shared photos of shoes reading “modern day slavery,” “made with slave labor,” “Hypocrite Nike” and “no more excuses.”
James came under fire two years ago when he stayed largely silent on the human rights issues in China during the country’s conflict with the NBA. Kanter has also criticized James for not being an advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Nike has been under fire for years for its use of cheap labor, called slave or sweatshop labor, to make its $100-or-more-per pair shoes. As companies have started supporting social justice causes publicly, some have been called out for their internal practices and lack of active support of it.