The Week That Was: Courageous Kanter

     Knicks center Enes Kanter should be enjoying life to the hilt considering he is 26 years old; has eight NBA seasons under his belt; and is now playing for the New York Knickerbockers where he is a favorite of a very discerning fan base. 

     The fact that he is a talented center would be enough of a reason for the Garden faithful to cheer for him but that wouldn’t do him or the fans justice.

      Kanter, who was born in Switzerland but is of Turkish descent, is as worldly a professional athlete as you will find. It would have been very easy for him to stay apolitical as most athletes are publicly but he has made it clear that he despises the autocratic president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and that has caused him a lot of problems. 

      Erdogan has issued an international arrest warrant for him. Enes Kanter was so concerned that he refused to accompany the Knicks to London last week for their game with the Washington Wizards because he feared that his life would be in jeopardy. The entire Knicks organization supported his decision even though his absence may have been a factor in the team’s 101-100 loss to the lowly Wizards.

     In something that is almost unheard of in the NBA, Kanter was dropped as an endorser by his former athletic shoe sponsor, Nike, although he still wears their sneakers on the court. Turkey has made it clear to Nike executives that it will close all of its stores there if Kanter is on their payroll.

      Kanter told me that he understands Nike’s dilemma and he is not angry with them. While that is magnanimous of him it does make Nike, a company that has run commercials celebrating athletes who speak up on social justice issues such as former NFL QB Colin Kaepernick, appear to be cowardly at best and hypocritical at worst.

    Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen made a head-scratching move when he signed free agent infielder Jed Lowrie to a two-year, $20 million contract last week.

     Lowrie has had a fine career but he will be 35 in April and is an infielder on a team with a surplus in that category. The Mets don’t even know what to do with last summer’s hitting hero, Jeff McNeil, who does not appear to have a position in the starting lineup.

     The Mets need hard-hitting outfielder such as free agents AJ Pollock or Adam Jones. Unless the Mets have a taker for third baseman Todd Frazier this deal makes no sense.

     It must be noted that Jed Lowrie was one of Brodie Van Wagenen’s clients when he was an agent at the Creative Arts Agency,. I’m not saying that Van Wagenen breached his fiduciary duty to his current employer, the Mets, with the Lowrie signing, but the optics aren’t great.

     Wayne Randazzo will replace Josh Lewin (who has moved onto the San Diego Padres) as Howie Rose’s partner in the Mets radio broadcast booth this year. Randazzo had been doing Mets pre and postgame shows as well as spot fill-ins on Mets broadcasts on WOR the past five years. The Mets are shifting their radio home to WCBS-AM this year.

      Ed Coleman, who is somewhat of a rock star to Mets fans from all of the years of reporting on the Mets for WFAN will be returning to his Mets pre and postgame show duties. Both WFAN and WCBS are owned by Entercom so this was a seamless transition for Coleman who will no longer have to fly commercial when the Mets are on the road. He can now return to the Mets’ charter plane.

    Jets fans can take heart knowing that 41 year-old New England Patriots QB Thomas E. Brady has at best another dozen years left in his NFL career.

    CBS, which has the broadcast rights to Super Bowl LIII will be televising “Super Bowl Greatest Commercials 2019″ next Tuesday night. Boomer Esiason and Daniela Rush are the hosts.

    It must be trendy for top box office movie stars to gravitate to “American Ninja Warrior” ripoffs. Last summer Kevin Hart hosted an obstacle course show, “TKO” on CBS. This month Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is trying his hand at doing the same for “The Titan Games” on NBC.

    I know that Washington Post White House bureau chief Philip Rucker has won numerous Pulitzer Prizes and is well-respected but why is it that he just regurgitates the obvious and never breaks any news or gives additional insights whenever he is on MSNBC which seems like all of the time?

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